LUCHADORAS is my favorite documentary at SXSW this year. It’s a great tale of female wrestler in the City of Juarez that find their greatest opponent is their family drama. The must deal with bigger challengers that they face in the ring such as motherhood and Femicide in the City of Juarez.
The film follows a group of female wrestlers. Many people that don’t live in Texas are not aware that City Juarez is a border city that is next to El Paso, Texas. The two cities are separated by a Highway. The citizens of Juarez can see El Paso from their backyard. The City of Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, while El Paso is the safest city in America. It shows that these 2 cities are as different as night and day.
The documentary focuses in three female wrestlers:
Candy, a rookie female wrestler that also works at a funerary. Her biggest problem is that her ex-husband lives in El Paso with her daughters. She hasn’t been able to see them in months. Candy is trying to get a visa to go visit her daughter. She must go through so many legal hoops to get to visit them again. Even though her ex-husband was abusive to her. At the same time, she is finally getting to wrestle big matches in her indie wrestling promotion.
Baby Star, the veteran masked female wrestler. At one point she had a huge career in the big wrestling federations in Mexico City. It ended when she went on vacation to Juarez fell in love, got pregnant and is now stuck in Suarez raising her daughter: while wrestling in a small independent promotion. Her story is my favorite one in the documentary. Baby Star is facing a big decision between staying in Juarez to raise her daughter or leave for Mexico City, make her comeback to big league wrestling promotions and leave her daughter in Suarez with her father. She has a small widow to go for her dream. She is at the prime of her career; You can tell Baby Star has the charisma and physical ability to be a big wrestler. She just needs to move out to a bigger pond. She is wasting her prime years in Juarez. I was so invested in her story I wanted to raise the funds to send her back to Mexico City to pursue her dream of being a wrestling superstar. Her form in the ring is amazing.
And finally, Mini Serinita, a female dwarf wrestler who wants to become a full-time wrestler and leave her terrible factory work. Also, a mother that has been in many abusive relationships. Her story is one of the exploitation of workers in Mexican factories. Her job is harder than any opponent in the ring. She is the funniest of all the wrestlers. Mini also has plans to go to Mexico City to go into big time wrestling.
The film also covers the vast plague of femicides in Suarez. The women of this city are the most affected by the activities of the drug cartel. We see the women in the documentary involved in protest of the abuses that are happening to women in Mexican society. The wrestlers I mention run a women’s wrestling school. Many Women of Suarez join this school to learn to wrestle. Wrestling gives this women strength; in the ring is the one place where they don’t feel like victims. I love the wrestlers that put on the mask. It makes them look like superheroes. Even when these wrestlers go to the park with their family, they wear the mask. One of the moments that brough a smile to my face is when Baby Star goes to park with her daughter and the wrestler father of her child, there both wearing mask while having a family picnic.
Having grown up in Latin America, masked wrestlers are real life superheroes and they are a symbol of strength and power. The women in this film are worthy of wearing their wrestling gear and they are the toughest women you will ever meet. They are surviving and thriving in one of the most dangerous cities in the continent. They are mothers and warriors; I have that at the film they would find a way to achieve their dreams. One of the most inspirational films I discovered at SXSW.
This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser towww.sxsw.com!