Luchadoras is a documentary by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasmin. Filmed in Ciudad Juarez, this documentary zeroes in on a situation that has been plaguing Juarez and the entirety of Mexico for far too long. Luchadoras explores the lives of three women wrestlers seeking autonomy and the freedom to pursue their goals in a violent and patriarchal society. Lady Candy, Baby Star and Mini Sirenita discuss what wrestling means to them and how it defines their role in society.
Calvo and Jasmin’s Luchadoras features brilliant camera work and artistry. The lives of these women are told while shots of the desert, the city, and most symbolically, the border wall provide backdrops to their experiences.
Lady Candy’s narration at the start of the film is particularly powerful and will entrance the audience. Lady Candy tells the story of “she.” This unnamed woman went to work and was raped by a bus driver. This woman is considered lucky as she survived to tell her story.
This is a well known story as women have been disappearing from these buses for decades. However, most women do not survive and are found in the desert. Candy points out that the border separates Juarez, considered to be the most dangerous city, from El Paso, often noted as one of the safest cities.
The film looks at the various goals of the women. Lady Candy wrestles while working at a funeral home. Her goal is to raise enough money to secure a visa and see her children. Baby Star was close to wrestling stardom, but is now looking to come back with a vengeance. Mini Sirenita works at a factory and wrestles part-time, but strives to showcase her strengths full time.
Luchadoras examines the lives of these women and how they interact within their families and close friends. There is a lot of optimism and strength projected by these women.
While reminders of the missing women can be seen throughout the city, there is also hope. The luchadoras provide self defense classes to the young girls of the community and strive to be role models for their daughters. They attend protests against sexist curfews and rally against the violence and injustice they face daily.
On the heels of Breonna Taylor’s anniversary and while women in the U.K are seeking justice for Sarah Everard, Luchadoras is a battle cry for women everywhere. Luchadoras makes its premiere at this South by Southwest Film Festival.
SXSW is March 16 – March 20. Tickets and a full lineup can be found here.
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