I recently spent an afternoon with independent filmmaker Katrina del Mar while she cooked a stir fry and talked about the girl gang films she’s been making over the last decade. The movies, whose titles include Gang Girls 2000, Surf Gang and Hell On Wheels, Gang Girls Forever, are peopled by scantily-clad women who surf, skate and fight turf wars. They’re aggressive, athletic, territorial and merciless toward one another. In many ways, they’re just like men, which is interesting because the films depict a world without men.
Del Mar told me she’s been honing her all-girl vision since coming across photographer Helmut Newton’s book, A World Without Men, as an adolescent in a midwestern book store. Disappointed by the fact that the book’s content contradicted the title (like mercury, men were present in trace amounts) she took it upon herself to create that promised man-free land in photos and eventually film. The photographer-turned-filmmaker explains she’s not anti-men, just pro-women. Rather than “afterthoughts to the exploits of men” she says, “I show women doing their own thing.” Having seen all three films during their recent New York premier, I can say Katrina Del Mar’s gang girls have at least as much fun playing pool and arming for gang war as regular girls have shoe shopping and primping for dates.