The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Twisted Sister and B-line horror films could all very well have been the inspiration behind Dyke Hard. This somewhat disjointed, colourfully cartoonish and gaudy comedy by Swedish director Bitte Andersson certainly manages to raise a few eyebrows.
At first glance, even the Dyke Hard poster is a surprise. Covered in loud colours, ’80s glam rockers, samurais and rainbows, it is anything but ordinary. The film follows Riff, Dawn, Peggy, Scotty, Bandito and Moira, the members of a queer rock group, who embark on a road trip across Sweden to the ultimate battle of the bands competition. Along the way, they must fight an army of ninjas, cyborgs and roller derby players who seek only to assure their untimely demise. It is an epic journey that even has a few nonsensical musical performances.
Eighties inspirations and other cliches
Dyke Hard is a combination of many genres (musical comedies, horror, science-fiction, action, road trip films, etc) and there are just as many reasons behind Bitte Andersson’s decision to make this hammy film. As a child of the ’80s, a time filled with cinematic cult classics and numerous B-line movies, you could say that the apple did not fall far from the tree. One of her main inspirations for the film was Miami Connection which centers around the adventures of a taekwondo rock group.
It is a bawdy and risque creation filled with cartoonist caricatures, like a gay barman who aspires to be a prison guard, all of which contribute to making this film anything but ordinary. That being said, while some may see her caricaturization as a wanton and excessive use of cliche lesbian stereotypes, others may interpret it as a form of self-mockery and trivialization. Regardless, Bitte Anderson’s goal was to find a way to discuss the heavier themes that are often seen in LGBT cinema such as solitude, depression and suicide. Perhaps in the end, her efforts to create an immense queer playground were in fact successful.
There is one definite element that sets this Swedish filmmaker’s project apart from the rest; a strong female presence. Let’s be honest, strong female protagonists are hard to come by in B-line movies where actresses are usually reduced to playing the damsel in distress. Bitte Anderson’s choice to use women of different ethnic backgrounds, sizes and shapes also contributes greatly to the success of this film. Her goal was obvious – show female diversity in all its splendour, which turns out to be a wonderful way to step back from a photoshopped world.
Dyke Hard has made its way through a number of film festivals, namely the last edition of Berlinale and was presented as a part of Loud and Proud, at Gaïté Lyrique. Despite a limited budget and funding, Andersson’s first full length film is a successful celebration of queer culture and community. We can only hope that it will make a stop on Montreal ground.
By Laurianne Désormiers