Original title: Shimotsuma monogatari
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Starring: Kyoko Fukada, Anna Tsuchiya, Eiko Koike
Kamikaze Girls Stars actress, model and singer Kyoko Fukada (Ringu 2, Dolls) as Momoko, an irrepressibly cute loner who dresses in the French Rococo style (albeit with platform boots) and only eats sweet foods so she can be sweet through and through.
She lives with her father who makes his living selling popular 'Versach' ripoff clothing.
While helping him with the family business, she meets Ichigo played by singer, model and actress Anna Tsuchiya (The Taste of Tea, Memories of Matsuko, Dororo). Ichigo is a member of a local bike gang, and rides around on her highly customised scooter wearing sunglasses and a major attitude.
Despite being polar opposites, the two girls gradually become friends as Ichigo comes to realise that being truly rebellious does not involve joining a gang, but in having the courage to be yourself.
This film is visually spectacular ... I can't wait to see director Tetsuya Nakashima's latest effort, Memories of Matsuko (now reviewed here). Lead character Momoko is quirky and adorable, and is joined by a cast of similarly interesting characters - giving the film a similar feel to Amelie. The cinematography is top notch - with a highly stylised colour palette, unusual camera angles, and moments of surrealism completing the Amelie metaphor.
There are moments of laugh-out loud humour, and the characters are all likeable - making this a movie you should definitely check out. The only downside was the somewhat trite ending which knocks my rating down from an 8.5 to a 7.5. Still, Kamikaze Girls was thoroughly enjoyable and a must-see for fans of quirky Japanese cinema.
Overall: 7.5/10. A finely made film, beautiful to look at, and laugh-out-loud funny in parts. Also Kyoko Fukada is very, very cute.