Directed: Arne Johnson, Shane King
Genre: Documentary, Reality
At Rock 'n' Roll Camp, girls ranging in age from eight to 18 are taught that it's OK to sweat like a pig, scream like a banshee, wail on their instruments with complete and utter abandon, and that "it is 100% okay to be exactly who you are." The girls have a week to select a band, an instrument they may have never played before, and write a song.
In between, they are taught by indie rock chicks such as Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management. At the end of the week, all the bands perform a concert for over 700 people. The film follows several campers: Laura, a Korean adoptee obsessed by death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth addiction, homelessness and gang activity; and Amelia, an eight-year-old who writes experimental rock songs about her dog Pipi. The girls are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform.
Movie ReviewsReaching out Aliptes, reaching out!
In the nineties, in Amsterdam I shared some college years with this girl. We were friends, kinda, and although we didn't always share opinions I remember having a good time with her in Kriterion and the Mensa. We kept in contact ever since she moved back to the states.
Last month she send me this DVD. By "reaching out" she meant from her place in the free world to mine, the gender studies capital of the world, Amsterdam. <cough>
Right. I watched this film painstakingly, and I didn't like it. It's not what it says it is on the label "the real camp rock", implying some fun docu about charming young musicians on a camp.
"I was told to learn to play bass guitar in five days", a 17 year old attendee says, in which mostly history lessons like the history of women in rock music were programmed. Hm, history lessons..
Ok. So it's not about music, I figured.
Although Sleater-Kinney artists are there to workshop the girls, the fact that you only need to know 2 chords, or scream really loud to be a vocalist is no proof of rock music nor the myth that surrounds it.
A genuinely girlish 7 year old called Palace (what are these parents up to anyway calling their daughter palace??), who has no concept of gender differences at all, is told that 'it's perfectly OK' to behave or dress like a boy..
"It's ok to express yourself. It's ok to be yourself." blablabla.
Aha. So it's politics. This neat little film has feminism written all over it. It's about the essence of being a girl - from the narrow minded point of view, of hardcore feminists.
Although they've directed and edited it like a videoclip, we get to see guitars, drums and instruments all over place, headbanging girls and so forth - this docu is never about music. The music the girls produce is (even by the standards of punk) appalling racket.
Most of it, is just talk. And therapy and indoctrination and talk. Of course coincidentally the attendees all have low self esteem, hard time to fit in, teen angst and so & so forth. blabla
The title Girls Rock is confusing. Instead, Feminist Therapy would be more accurate.
Not my cup of tea. I'm oldfashioned. I think young girls should horseback ride - better yet they should be disciplined at ballet academy. But hey who am I.
By all means don't take my word for it. See it and make up your mind.
I wrote an e-mail to my american friend "Rally noice, mite" and told her I would send her my review. She send me something back with smilies and little hearts. Not very masculin. lol ;)