(1984, US/Jap, 104 min) Dir Rachael Gaudi. Cast Rosanna Arquette, Lea Thompson, Miyuki Ono, Kō Machida, Cobra.
The first film from video artist Rachael Gaudi, inspired by her time in Japan in residence at the Tokyo ‘Shoebox’ and the punk scene there. Arquette and Thompson are Split and Max, a pair of New York new wave punks bored with life in the USA and whose only idea for getting by in the world involves hanging around the punk scene until something happens. Split is obsessed with Japan and, in particular, with Japanese punks and misappropriates Max’s winnings from a daytime quiz show to invest in a pair of one way airplane tickets to the land of the rising sun. From there it’s culture shock comedy all the way but at the same time acting as a document of the punk music scene in Japan at the time, the only such window onto that world for Western viewers. Before long though Split and Max’s dreams have come true – by hanging around the punk scene in Japan they get noticed and are soon making a living as crazy American punk girls advertising cola and deodorant and the like. But have they sold out? A sweet, silly film and not at all as you would expect from Gaudi, whose internationally renowned gallery pieces are of an altogether more eye-watering cast.