Annika Berg’s Team Hurricane is an exciting, radical punk film about eight Danish teenage girls. Like the eclectic and colourful characters portrayed on screen, this is a movie that has a unique aesthetic and tone: it mixes the realism of handheld cameras and documentary footage with the colour palette of a Japanese anime. Imagine Harmony Korine’s Gummo overlaid with Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli classic Ponyo and edited by 1970s Jean-Luc Godard.
Berg has managed the remarkable feat of making her images appear both realistic and fantastical in each and every frame. It would be wrong to term this film “experimental cinema”, which one might be tempted to do, given the hyper-real aesthetics, aggressive cuts and lack of interest in plot, because the visuals reflect the graphically enhanced photographic communication of the Snapchat generation. In our digital generation, Berg’s altered visuals and strong colour palette may be the most realistic images being transmitted at the festival.
It’s also a film about how institutions handle young girls. The gaggle of protagonists all meet up in a local youth club that has its own rules and also tries to fulfil an educational function. The standout moment of Team Hurricane sees the girls being taught how to put on condoms. It’s fascinating to see their collective and individual reactions, and also how they are taught to interact and behave. The tone is bittersweet, as Berg balances the tougher scenes with sweeter interludes. The way it refuses to compromise brings to mind some of the work of Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, especially The Raspberry Reich (2004). There is also, of course, the more direct political influence of Chantal Akerman. In terms of breaking institutional norms itself, Team Hurricane has a female filmmaker in every head of department position.
This political work never forgets to have fun. Given that it’s so radical, unique and exploratory, it will undoubtedly be the favourite film of some kewl kid somewhere.
Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa.org