Thursday, June 03, 2010

Linda Linda Linda Is My Favorite Film...

With each viewing of Nobuhiro Yamashita's brilliant 2005 film, Linda Linda Linda, the more I have to conclude that it's gradually become my absolute favorite film...


The movie is a breezy slice-of-life story about a hastedly assembled student rock band that finds itself only three days to perfect their set of music for their schools annual cultural festival. The camera follows around these four young ladies as they practice, deal with school, practice, experience awkward relationships, practice, overcome their shyness, and practice some more. It really is that simple a film, and the results are delightful.



The musical crux of the film is the legendary Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts. Their signature song, Linda Linda, is considered a classic and something of a karaoke staple in Japan. In the film, the band has decided to cover three songs by The Blue Hearts, but don't have a singer....



...until they meet Son. Son's a painfully shy exchange student from Korea with a limited Japanese vocabulary, but she loves the music of The Blue Hearts so much that she can't turn down the offer to sing in the band.

Son is played by Korean actress Bae Doona (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, The Host, & Air Doll to name a few films) and she wins you over instantly. She has several great scenes in this movie where she barely even speaks, relying solely on facial expressions and body language that make Son a very real person.



As Son becomes more comfortable in her unexpected role as a singer in a punk band, she makes a subtle transition from an introverted wallflower to a young woman who's finally found where she wants to be. It's powerful and inspiring to hear her belt out rock n' roll anthems while holding on to the microphone for dear life.




Much like real life, this film moves along at it's own quiet and deliberate pace. The characters are all wonderfully likable people. You really want the best for the band as they struggle to achieve perfection in the form of a three minute punk rock song. Their journey becomes yours, and the payoff is as thunderous as it is uplifting.



As I mentioned earlier, I've watched this movie more than once. It's become a movie that I return to again and again. Sometimes I start to watch a favorite scene, and wind up watching the whole thing again anyway. I guess you could call it cinematic comfort food. With this in mind, I must declare Linda Linda Linda as my favorite movie.



An interesting aside: for the making of Linda Linda Linda, the cast learned the music themselves (Bass player Shiori Sekine is a real-life member of the terrific band Baseball Bear) and played live shows as a bonafide rock band! Here's a video for their cover of the classic Blue Hearts song...

2 comments:

The Envoy said...

The rain scene reminds me of Scandal's SHOUJO S

Frank Tellez said...

Your review of Linda Linda Linda is the best! Catch 'A Gentle Breeze In The Village' by the same director!