Aggression is a part of human nature, to assume it’s the province of men is foolish
Powerhouse female boxing flick
Karyn Kusama left middle class St Louis for New York City, where she took up boxing. Now, with the help of John Sayles’ production team, she’s made a movie about a female boxer. Her Gir/fight is set to follow Boys Don’t Cry as this year's American indie success story.
Women don’t have the natural clout of an Ali or La Motta, though, do they? 'We're trained to believe that's true,’ counters Kusama. ’If you’re given the opportunity to express yourself in that way, it can feel quite freeing to be encouraged to hit other people. It’s not necessarily the healthiest thing I've heard of . . . Aggression is a part of human nature, and to assume it's only the province of men is a little foolish.’
’lt‘s one of our greatest sports,’ continues Kusama. 'lt’s a very pure expression of an athlete's ability. It creates a set of rules that the outside world doesn't seem to have an easy time enforcing for itself. People who use fighting as a means to survive will use it in or out of the ring, and it’s better that it be in. The sport is so dramatic in itself, there’s a simplicity to the ring, it has a classical feeling to it. I wanted to do something more than a boxing film; a coming-of-age story, from
M. “Mr. ::..
adolescence to young adulthood.’
Like the best boxing films — Somebody Up There Likes Me, Raging Bull, and Kusama's favourite, Fat City — Girlfight is about much more than the sport itself. Here the ring offers Kusama’s teenage protagonist, Diana, something neither school nor her dysfunctional home life have: a sense of self-worth.
In Michelle Rodriguez, Kusama has found an astonishing new contender for the role of Diana, giving a powerhouse performance in her first leading role. ’The sort of ferocity we were looking for is very difficult to find in female actors,’ says Kusama, ’because there’s such a premium placed on women’s ability to please, accommodate, serve and be pretty. That didn’t serve my purposes at all. I wanted to create a character who had an iconic power, who had a basic, blunt, almost stock character feeling the way Stanley Kowalski or Terry Malloy have. I wanted to create that same presence but with a female character, sorely lacking from the media art forms. I'm traditional, I like the idea of a heroine who is just a locomotive of energy.’
Kusama is currently fending off Hollywood offers to do another sports film, instead she’s working on a bio(logical) thriller. Meanwhile, the ferocious Rodriguez is preparing herself to become an action movie heroine. :2! For detai/s, see Hit/ist, right
Late Night Romps
South East Asian horror thriller invasion
Beware Ring: extreme violence and paranormal activity, Japanese style
There's music, action and laughter to be found in the Film Festivals popular late night screenings strand But in its second year, Late Night Romps, is dominated by horror thrills of the distinctly tin-American kind
Forget the sappy Scream series, culture shock beckons as American horror mowes are unceremoniously shunted out the way for the long- anticipated Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Korean invasion. Thus far, western film distributors seem to have refrained from opening up the market to more than Just the devoted and discerning few, But those few are now legion, and are set to multiply exponentially as Japan’s fantastically popular Ring trilogy (Ring, Ring 2 and the prequel, Ring 0' The Birthday) paves the way for the thousands of undiscovered bloodied gems that lie waiting
Ring plays on simple and surprisingly effective urban mythology ta letha! Videotape that spreads like a Vll'llS', and unlike simzlarly themed American films, the complexmes of the plot are explained succinctly in the first ten minutes, which leaves plenty of time for a potted history of the ‘onryo' lvengeful ghost», a brief insight into 19th century Japanese society, and a whole lot of scares that Just get bigger,
better and more nightmai‘e-inclucing
than anything \x'estern grown-ups are used to
Elsewhere, thrills originate from Germany iAnatomie‘i, France «Deep In The Woods», Australia (Cut), New Zealand iThe /rrc—>futab/c-) Truth About Demons‘), Korea «Tell Me Somethingi and, back to Japan «Audit/om Prepare to be shocked, fieakecl and stunned iAclele Hartleyl $94. For detai/s, see Hit/ist, right
The best of world cinema in a week
Dancer In The Dark
Bjork makes her acting debut :n Lars von Trier's digitally-shot homage to the H()lly‘.'.()()(l musical that's also a cc vi‘peliiiic; trag:c clran‘a, See feature, page 12 Dancer In The Dark, ABC 1, 73 Aug, 7 30pm, [7 r[/+’ 50'
See pi’e\.:c.\\.t., left Cir/fight, Cameo 7, 14 Aug, 7 75pm, 23 Aug, TO 30pm, [7 [4
Peter l‘vlulla". and Saffroi‘ Burroxas give Silll‘!“ll(} per‘orii‘ai'ices .n Mke Fggis' adaptation of Sti‘inclberg's play about a 'nistress, ltei' serxant and the class conflict See reziex. Miss Julie, Cameo i, 76 Aug, 70pm, 26 Aug, 5. 75pm [7 ([450r
Superb urban cii'arixa about ti‘ree teenage girls who are ‘orcecl to make some life choices lien their Brooklyn school .s threatened \.'-.ith closure See T(3.\"|(‘\.". Our Song, Film/rouse i', 76 Aug, 7pm, Cameo 1', 23 Aug, 5 30pm, [7 [4 50'.
. . I
Mark Her'nai‘fs :Brasseci ()th ci'o\‘.'d-pic->ase" about a coupe o" poor Ne\.\'ciastle teenagers out to win themselves season tickets to the footy See reyiev. Pure/F, Belter‘, UGC, 14 Aug, (in/n, CH 7, .77Aug, 8 fin/77, [7113.7 50‘
See pretrew left Ring, Cameo ' 74 Aug, 9 45pm, Ring 2, ('a'rreo /, .74 Aug 1 / 45bit), Ring 0 li‘: Birthday, Cameo /, lb Aug
.7 ipm, [7 [4 5031'75'1’lOW‘br all three fi/ms'
Time Code Figgis again, wti‘ an experimental feature ‘.‘..".l( l: intei‘\‘.ea\.'es four i‘inro‘. seu stories shot i". real t:i~‘e and projected on to a split-st ree"
simultaneously lugg-s wil perform a ‘iive mix in. f:(lll‘.l)tl’(l" See l'(‘\.'l(‘\.‘. Time ( cici'e, (Ii/net) 7 i5 Aug, 8pm, [7/131 750
'«3 .fi..:; 2-3-33 THE “ST FESTIVAL GUIDE 71