Kamikaze Girls

A Japanese LAVERNE & SHIRLEY on Acid

Kamikaze Girls
When it comes to quirky and eccentric fashion, you can't beat Japan's youth culture. One current trend is the Lolita look, where teenage girls doll themselves up in frilly, Bo-Peep dresses full of embroidered lace and rococo romanticism. The amusing "Kamikaze Girls" shows what happens when one such delicate flower finds an unlikely ally with a rough and foul-mouthed girl from a biker gang.

Stylistically, "Kamikaze" outdoes Tarantino at his own flamboyant game. Director Nakashima Tetsuya, making his feature film debut after an award-winning career in commercials, is fearless with cinematic tricks. He jumps the narrative back and forth in time, employs numerous freeze frames and animation sequences, has characters talk directly to the camera and compiles a soundtrack that is schizophrenically mishmash.

In short, the premise of "Kamikaze" might be similar to a younger and kitschy "Thelma & Louise," but it is never less than appealingly surreal.

Japanese idol Fukada Kyoko is the bonnet-wearing Momoko, a high-schooler with a bad case of small-town ennui. Her only escape is to imagine herself among the aristocrats of 18th century French nobility. She meets Ichiko (Anna Tsuchiya), a biker chick whose look is very different from Momoko. Ichiko looks more like Shirley Manson -- red lipstick and raccoon mascara eyes -- with a samurai robe. Despite their fashion differences, deep down the two are equally lonely and alienated misfits.

Not just another rebellious teen tale, "Kamikaze" also is wildly ironic fun. However, it is less a comedy than a full-on live-action manga. Tetsuya captures the book's sly yet brash commentary about Japanese society and its ever-conspicuous obsessions. At the same time, it also is a touching tale of friendship that is, like Ichiko, too cool to let its street-wise facade drop for even one sentimental minute.

Appropriately outlandish in parts but with a heart as golden as the cinematography's glinting sun, "Kamikaze Girls" might be kawaii cute, but it rules with its own brand of girl power. (A. Sun, Hollywood Reporter)

Kamikaze Girls

Sat & Sun March 4 & 5, 2006, 7:00 & 9:15, Muenzinger Auditorium

Japan, 2004, in Japanese, 102 min • official site



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Thu Apr 27, 2023


At Muenzinger Auditorium

Sat Apr 29, 2023

The Illusionist

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...