DYKE HARD || 2014, Sweden || Comedy || Directed by – Bitte Andersson / Written by – Bitte Andersson, Bartin Borell, Alexi Carpentieri, Josephine Krieg / Produced by – Martin Borell, Joakim Dahl, Max Hallén, Charles Lidbom, Tomas Michaelsson, Bonnie Skoog, Josephine Krieg / Music by – Bitte Andersson, Makode Linde, Ilon Vejde, Ma Wagensjo / Cinematography – Alexi Carpentieri / Editing by – Bitte Andersson, Alexi Carpentieri, Gregers Dohn, Amy Pomering / Starring – Lina Kurttila, Peggy Sands, Maria Wagensjo / Running time: 82 mins.
Loud, eccentric and very, very gay. Dyke Hard is funny and downright repulsive in equal amounds. Britte Anderson, in her feature directorial debut, is directly inspired by John Waters, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, classic B or Z movies, and other such horrific cinematic creations, as she tells the story of a lesbian rock band’s violent adventures and predicament, which take place as they journey to a battle of the bands that serves as the film’s…climax. It is also set in the mid-eighties, and pays a loving tribute to the style of the time, with its aggressively coloured costumes and improbable haircuts.
Much like the films it references, it is a sexually charged piece of absurdism, freely mish-mashing genres in what can be described as a post-modernist nightmare. It even fearlessly dubs its dialogue in English, albeit in glorious Swedish accent. Superficial, dialogue, by the way, much like the rest of the film, is superficial and has no relevant message whatsoever. In fact, it even seems to laugh at films that have a message at all. But it’s all in the name of good fun.
The inventiveness of the costumes and downright stunning art direction show a high level of craftmanship that reveal Dyke Hard to be a work of love. Its structure too is quite creative, and some particularly interesting scenes show an admirable ingeniousness, such as the occasional clever in your face use of green screen and animation.
So, is Dyke Hard a post-modernist B-move masterpiece? Well, let’s just say that the level of enjoyment experienced by each individual viewer will still depend on how drunk of high he or she may be. Unlike Pink Flamingos or other great stuff by John Waters, it doesn’t feel rebellious, shocking or nearly as gritty. Unlike Rocky Horror Picture Show, the many songs featured in just as many awful musical numbers are terrible, at best feeling like the general preception of a rebellious Eurovision song. Sure, the fact that the film is certainly a European production modeled on an American wave is part of the joke. But that doesn’t stop the songs from being awful and lengthy. Because, much like many of the films it references, sometimes directly, Dyke Hard is psychologically and visually exhausting. Its initial appeal burns out fast. Style over context is never a good thing, not even when style over concept is the whole point of the film. And this one is, therefore, no exception. – 1/5