Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bend Those Notes Like Beckham

The Korea Times recently reviewed a Japanese film, Swing Girls, about a group of schoolgirls who start their own jazz band. It looks like a big band Bend it Like Beckham. OK, it might be cloying and juvenile. I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, and it doesn’t seem like American audiences are likely to anytime soon. Evidently, this 2004 film is just now finding distribution in Korea, but All Movie Guide has no entry, so I assume its never been released here.

At some level, that’s a shame. Jazz has been criticized, sometimes fairly so, for not being hospitable enough to female instrumentalists. A film that suggests playing big band jazz is a worthy aspiration for young women has a welcome message that might compensate for any saccharine cuteness.

In the 1960’s, foreign films like A Man and a Woman were actually widely distributed and discussed. That’s a far cry from today. When one of last year’s Oscar nominated foreign language films, Paradise Now, sympathetically portrays a suicide bomber, American audiences are understandably tuning out foreign film. Distributors should pass on the terror propaganda, and look for entertaining international films. Maybe Swing Girls is such a film. Who knows?