Dragon Girls by Inigo Westmeier, 2012
Dragon Girls opens with an incredible shot of thousands of children running in perfect formation towards the camera, stopping precisely in perfect unison. The militaristic style of this movement is a perfect representation of the strict ideology the film is about. Dragon Girls follows the trials and triumphs of three Chinese girls studying Kung Fu at a school of over 35,000 in China's Shaolin Monastery. The documentary captures the incredible artistry and athleticism of these children, leaving the audience in awe at their accomplishments. Their regimen is incredibly disciplined, which doesn't leave much of a family or social life for any of them. Dragon Girls does a wonderful job displaying the struggles these girls go through during their studies, but it also lacks any sort of real drama. Talks of competitions and student run-aways lead up to moments that, in the end, don't add up to much. Yes these girls are amazing and you feel for them, but without much of a narrative arc, the emotional payoff is minimal.
3 out of 5 stars