"Fighting is human nature," notes a sage monk from the Shaolin monastery in China, right beside the illustrious Tagou Shaolin Kung Fu School. The 27,000 students regularly visit the monastery to honor the many holy statues of mythical creatures and grandmasters that preceded them in this noble martial art. The foundation of Kung Fu lies in Eastern principles such as self-control and discipline. "Discipline is what you're not allowed to do," says one of the protagonists in Dragon Girls. Crying is taboo, even if it's from pain after being severely beaten with a stick. The girls are separated from their families at a very young age and placed in the school, where they have to adjust to the group and, most of all, follow the rules and obey the teachers. "A community's backbone is shaped by rules," says the headmaster. "In here, those rules are very strict." Tagou is not just any training school, and Kung Fu is not just any form of martial art, as the headmaster explains. "It's a form of religion, a pursuit of insight and inner peace." Besides the breathtaking exercises in the open air, Dragon Girls gives us a portrait of vulnerable girls as they train to become graceful fighting machines.
Inigo Westmeier bvk for Open Window Film GmbH, Bettina Brokemper for Heimat Film GmbH&Co.KG, Tom Wommer for GAP films GmbH