Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita, LINDA LINDA LINDA depicts the musical and personal dramas of an all-girl high school rock band and has played to critical acclaim at more than 40 major international film festivals. The f... more »ilm notably offers a soundtrack by ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and a cameo by punk rock legends The Ramones.
The DVD release includes a new audio commentary by noted film critic and Japanese pop culture journalist Patrick Macias. LINDA LINDA LINDA was originally released in 2005 and follows an all-girl high school rock band after an untimely break-up. Only three days before their high school festival, guitarist Kei (Yu Kashii), drummer Kyoto (Aki Maeda of Battle Royale), and bassist Nozumi (Shiori Sekine) must recruit a new lead vocalist for their band. They choose an unlikely Korean exchange student Son (Doona Bae of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), even though her comprehension of Japanese is a bit rough! It's a race against time as the group struggles to learn three tunes for the festival's rock concert -- including a classic '80s punk-pop song by the famous Japanese group The Blue Hearts called "Linda Linda."« less
Ana M. from SALISBURY, MD Reviewed on 11/25/2009...
This is the best movie for a teen. My fifteen year old loved everything about it and it was truly a nice way to enjoy a movie with her. The actors play very believable roles and the music is fun. You forget you are reading subtitles five minutes into the movie.
J. Rose | 01/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a performer off and on for most of my life. My best friend is in a couple bands. Needless to say, we both loved this movie. We caught it at the local Art House movie theatre (shout out to the great folks at Portland's Historic Hollywood Theatre!).
What's it about? A Japanese high school girl group has a falling out with their lead singer about an incident that injures one of the other girls. There are hurt feelings all around. So the remaining girls decide to swap instruments and draft the local misfit (the stunningly talented super-model-turned actress Du-na Bae) Korean girl to sing lead.
Nothing turns out quite like you'd expect. There are wonderous small moments all tied together with the tour-de-force-of-nature that is Bae. The smaller characters are well defined, and you get a real sense of this world.
Captures the feeling of giddiness/stress that is performance better than virutally any movie I've seen in years. Do you love punk music? Do you love movies about misfits? Do you love films about finding your own place? THEN RUN and get this film. A real stunner.
Amusing and Touching: Calling Up Memories of My Younger Days
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 06/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Japanese indie film "Linda Linda Linda" follows the story of four high school girls who need to learn to play the songs of the Blue Hearts, 80s Japanese punk rock band, for the annual school festival. They got only three days to practice, and the vocal happens to be an international student from Korea. But can they master the songs and play them in front of the audiences?
The story is simple. As two girls recently left the group, three remaining members of the band Kyoko (Aki Maeda, "Battle Royale"), Kei (Yu Kashii) and Nozomi (Shiori Sekine) have to find a vocalist for the new band. They recruit a timid Korean exchange student Son (Du-na Bae, "The Host"), who, as it turns out, shows unexpected side of her character as she keeps practicing.
[SLOW-MOVING BUT TOUCHING] First, keep this in mind before watching "Linda Linda Linda" of which mood is something different from such films as, say, "School of Rock" or "Hard Day's Night" (both my favorite films). The catchy Blue Hearts songs are wonderful and the rock concert scenes are full of energy, but the greatness of director Nobuhiro Yamashita is that he not only succeeded in expressing the youthful energy of high school girls, but also cleverly suggesting that the girls are leaving behind their younger days though they themselves are not aware of it.
To fully enjoy "Linda Linda Linda," please remember these things. Annual high school festivals (usually called "bunka-sai" in Japanese) are usually held in autumn and the girls are in the third (and last) year of high school. That means this is their final chance to join in the bunka-sai of their school. Son will go back to her country and most probably they will not play together again. Yamashita inserts several episodes or images that imply the festival (or the sweet, joyful days of youth) is going to be over soon - the images of deserted schoolyard or one of the girl's ex-boyfriend leaving the town, for instance. Only grown-ups around the girls know this fact (listen carefully the words from the teacher), but the girls themselves do not seem to realize this, or even if they do, they don't understand the meaning of it ... until long after their youth is past.
The film deftly captures the atmosphere of high school festivals in Japan. I can assure you the authenticity of each scene of the film because I was once a high school student there. So much time and efforts are put into "bunka-sai": classrooms are turned into shops selling noodles, ice cream stand, rock music club or "haunted house." It is precious moment of life, which becomes part of bitter-sweet memories of youth only after you realize you have left it behind forever.
The acting is uniformly great, especially the brilliant performance from Du-na Bae as Son, who is to be seen in "The Host," a 2006 mega-hit in South Korea. In fact she might be a bit too old to play the role Son (Du-na Bae was about 25 years-old at the time of shooting), but her spontaneous and lively performance makes us forget that. The film is also benefited from the authentic location as it was shot in the real, now disused building of Maebashi Industrial High School in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, which had recently moved to another location.
"Linda Linda Linda" uses a slightly downbeat approach in telling the story, avoiding the cliched plot devices. It is sometimes slow-moving, but in moving slowly, it shows a realistic portrait of high school life in Japan. Wherever you are, you will see it is an amusing and touching film that captures the essence of youth."
J-Pop High School
avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 03/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
I saw this at a local arthouse theater, and loved it so much I went back and saw it several more times during its week run (ok, I had a month pass as part of a promotion, but still, it was the late show in a frigid January, and I bought the pass because of this film). The audiences were laughing at all the right places, and broke into applause at the finish. It's a warm, funny, fluffy delight of a punk-rock movie, with a good deal of substance underneath.
As the film opens, Shiba High School is preparing for it's annual Holly Festival, classes are off and everyone is busy setting up noodle booths or practicing for the rock concert, or just hanging out. After a painful scene in which two "AV geeks" are filming a bored girl reading a paean to the these last days of freedom, as an intro to a documentary we'll see them shooting a few times through the film, we see one of the central characters, bandmember Kyoko, walking down a corridor between open classrooms looking for Kei, and immediately defining her character -- the idealized Japanese schoolgirl, energetic, social, perky, polite, the go-between and peacemaker. She first spots Nozomi, who suggests the practice room, then asks Moe about her broken finger; Moe apologizes she cannot play with the band.
This neatly sets up the basic theme -- Kei, Kyoko, Nozomi and Moe were going to play in the concert, but now have a problem. Kei, the acknowledged leader, decides they will play anyway, but who will replace singer-guitarist Moe? Poking through some old tapes, they find one by the 80's Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts, and decide to go for it. Kei will switch from keyboards to guitar, but they still need a vocalist. In a hilarious scene, sitting slacker-style on a wall, they decide to take the first person to come along. After a couple of false starts, along comes Son, the school's Korean exchange student, who readily agrees (and then is horrified when she finds out what she agreed to :-).
The rest of the film is in some sense formulaic -- the girls have three days to learn three songs and to mesh as a group. They persist through daunting obstacles, bonding with each other, and through energy and talent and some luck emerge triumphant at the finale. But it is extremely well-done formula, and there are many layers to add interest. Each of the prime four has a distinct character -- Kyoko, as described above; Kei, somewhat of a loner; Nozomi, somewhat withdrawn and maybe with less of a future than the others; and of course Son, delightfully played by Doona [Du-Na] Bae as a fish-out-of-water, a bit shell-shocked in her new environment, who finds friendship and emerges from her shell. We see bits of each of their family lives, which inform their individual characters. Kei's past relations are important -- the ex-boyfriend whose studio they use, the ex-best-friend and band co-founder Rinko that she is having a frosty fight with. The boys who are interested in Kyoko and Son. The whole carefully shown environment of a small Japanese city and high school.
Go and check out some clips from the Japanese version and spinoff album on youtube .. search for Paranmaum as well as Linda Linda Linda. And also search for bluehearts for the true original, and baseballbears to see Nozomi (Shiori Sekune) in her real-life band. Aki Maeda (Kyoko) also has some rather syrupy pop ballads.
One thing -- I seriously hope this has not been dubbed into English, as the technical info seems to indicate (or at least that the original soundtrack and subtitles are available as an alternate). Of course that would destroy the music, if that's dubbed, and switching back and forth between Japanese music and English dialogue would be too weird. But just in general, it would seem to take away the "listen and feel" of the film. "
Linda Linda, Linda Linda Lindaaaa!
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 06/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Don't tell us that when we are no longer kids, we grow up. When we grow up, we won't quit being kids. Where are the real we? Should the real we be here? We've only got a little more time to be the real us. ... We won't end here. It is not wrong to expect a miracle. We won't let our high school days become a memory. Is this wind the same as the one blowing the day after tomorrow? Will and courage will be kept in the same pocket. This is our kingdom. 2004 Shiba High Holly Festival."
That message spoken by a student of Shibazaki High School, has a twinge of poignancy. Second year in high school is indeed the last time high school students have fun. After that, they have to study like crazy for college entrance exams, to become adults in the real world.
At the school festival, "bunkasai" for those in the know, four girls want to do a band, but their guitarist Moe injures herself. An argument between keyboardist Kei and Rinko, both of who are short-tempered, results in the latter departing. The band, minus Moe and Rinko, consists of drummer Kyoko, shy bassist Nozomi, and Kei, now on guitar.
However, without Moe-chan, they can't write their own songs, nor have a lead singer, so they have to go the cover band route. Upon hearing 80's punk band the Blue Hearts' "Linda Linda", they decide to do three songs, that one, "My Right Hand," and the angst-ridden, but overall refreshing "Endless Song."
On an irresponsible whim and mostly to spite Rinko, Kei recruits Son, a painfully shy Korean exchange student whose grasp at Japanese is manageable at best. She is at first horrified to realize what she has talked herself into, but decides to do it, becoming chummy with her new friends. Most of the best scenes involve her, such as when she and Kei talk at the bus stop. Son's problems in understanding a karaoke place where she has to buy a drink to sing poses a humorous situation, as she wants to sing and not drink, but the clerk tells her she has to buy a drink. And she's just wonderful when she strolls out on the abandoned festival grounds, verbally imagining the scene, passing by the booths, then going on stage, and introducing the band. Heck, one boy even confesses his feelings for her, trying to speak good Korean.
Kyoko, the drummer, is doing double duty helping out with a banana stand for the culture fest. But she's also the most diplomatic and friendly, concerned about her fellow members as well as trying not to let her friends be put down. And she seems to have feelings for the shy and awkward Kazuya. Aki Maeda was a wonderful choice to play the lovable and friendly Kyoko.
It's enjoyable seeing the quartet practicing for their gig, hanging out with each other, and sharing this wonderful time together, even in a scene when they sneak into the band room at night, quietly singing and playing quietly so as not to get caught.
This is a interesting departure for Bae Du Na, having appeared in Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and the Ring Virus. She is lovable and credible as Son.
I saw this movie on the plane coming back from Japan to America, and I loved every minute of it, anything for one last drop of Japanese culture. It helped me make up my mind to go back to Japan one day. Thanks, girls. And ex-Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha's moody but reflective keyboard music score is perfect!
Trivia: the name of the Jitterin' Jinn song about the upside down giraffe that cracks Kei up is "Purezento" or "Present."
After high school, comes the beginning of the students' wonderful endless song, per the Blue Hearts: "Let's sing a endless song, for this a--hole of a world/Lets sing a endless song, for all the trash out there/Let's sing a endless song, for me, and you, and them out there/Let's sing a endless song, so that we can all laugh tomorrow."
Makes me want to sing...
Michael Valdivielso | Alexandria, VA | 08/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not really, but it does make me want to look up more information on the Blue Hearts. The plot is simple - a member of a girl band hurts her finger before the school's festival. And two of the members have a fight, causing one of them to leave the band. Now the remaining girls need to train a new singer only days before the gig. They recruit a Korean exchange student who can barely speak the language. The themes that run throughout the film are more complex than the plot. Friendship, memories, love, the end of one era of one's life and the start of a new one. Besides the culture tips and the Blue Hearts audio FAQ, there isn't much in the way of extras and that was a tad disappointing. VIZ did such a good job with Train Man and Kamikaze Girls. But still worth getting for those who love Japanese culture, Japanese music or a good movie."