On paper, as someone points out in this film, a pair of
yodeling, country-singing lesbian twins from rural New Zealand
should equal commercial death. But Jools and Lynda Topp, who are
the subject of this documentary, have made a successful career out
of being just that. Untouchable Girls tells their story so far.
The Topps are household names in New Zealand and have been for
decades. "Singers that are funny", is how they describe themselves,
with characteristic simplicity. Their live shows are unashamedly
Kiwi, often lovingly poking fun at NZ archetypes; the Topps have a
repertoire of characters, some male, some female, which represent
via parody a range of different Kiwi stereotypes, many of them
rural (the Topps' own family background is in farming) and harking
back to previous generations.
The film follows their political activism over the years as well
as their musical careers; the twins were involved in many of the
major political battles of the past few decades, including working
with the CND, involvement in protests for Maori land rights, gay
rights and against the Springbok tour. Archival footage and
interviews with various people, including former NZ PM Helen Clark,
add a lot to these sections of the documentary.
The film is not just a political historical document, however,
and also covers their personal lives, touching on coming out and
current relationships as well as Jools' experience of cancer. Their
infectious humour and straightforward enjoyment of life makes this
film a heartwarming and inspiring part of lesbian cultural
Check out the trailer, below.
Untouchable Girls is on sale from 7 May.
Buy it here