SXSW: Luchadoras – Fight For Your Dreams, Fight For Your Life

There is so much more here than you might be expecting. Yes, it is a documentary about badass female Mexican wrestlers. But aside from the world of lucha, these women are fighting against machismo and violence in Juarez, Mexico – a place that at one point earned the title of “deadliest city” because its homicide rate was so high. And I don’t just mean homicide across the board, this is primarily gender-based violence targeting women.

This documentary centers primarily on three fighters- Baby Star, Mini Sirenita and Lady Kandy. Outside of the ring we come to know the women as fighters in their day-to-day lives.

Baby Star- A legacy fighter, the daughter of a luchador with no sons, and so he taught his daughters (Baby Star and Little Star) the art of lucha.

Mini Sirenita – A mother and a grandmother, with aspirations of moving to Mexico City to be closer to her daughter, grandchildren and fighting in the big time.

Lady Kandy – Outside of the ring, she is fighting to see her daughters. Her ex fled to the U.S. taking her children with him and along with her rise to success in the ring, we also follow her fight back to her girls.

Directors Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasmin not only allow the audience to see these women as luchadoras, but as mothers. As grandmothers. As strong women existing in this world. All of this set against the backdrop of Juarez, where women are habitually murdered and frequently go missing. The luchadoras run a self defense workshop for women, they take to the streets and protest against violent machismo and femicide. In a conversation about family Mini Sirenita talks about how she felt better off alone as a single parent, “You are your own macho”. For these women, lucha is more than a sport. It is more than entertainment. It is a rebellion. It is a movement.

Fight for your dreams. Fight for you life.

One of the closing shots is a powerful composition featuring a long line of women from all walks of life, stretching across a vast empty desert; the luchadoras stand with them and they collectively stare straight down the barrel of the lens with a defiance that you believe in and root for. A moving portrait of warrior women and a strong reminder that in the end- aren’t so many of us just fighting for a better life?

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