Luchadoras (2021)

In the city of Juárez, Mexico, women fight every day of their lives to simply survive as the high murder and assault rates only seem to go higher. Some of them take back the power to feel like they can be fighters by becoming Luchadoras, showing strength in physical, mental, and emotional forms. Directors Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim take the stories of these women and bring them to the screen in a manner that really gives the forefront and the ability to tell their own stories. Life has not been easy for these ladies and the obstacles they have faced show in how they are now, in how they act, in how they survive. This documentary doesn’t sugarcoat anything. These ladies have been at risk their entire lives and they have done what they could to survive, but also to give their children and grandchildren a better life. This all leads to an emotional form of documentary as it’s very intimate and well-done, getting really into the lives of these fighters. The reality that shown here is not an easy one, but it’s also the reality of ladies who don’t give up, who are ready to fight on all fronts.

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What makes Luchadoras a great documentary is that it also shows, or explains, mistakes the ladies have made in their lives, it doesn’t try to paint them as perfect martyrs, but as complex women with their good and their bad, with their logical decisions and their questionable ones. There are a few things that are not fully explained about some of these decisions, but it doesn’t really affect the way the film makes its point. Here, the film shows what strong women can do when they work towards a goal, even when all the odds are against them.

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Luchadoras also shows the reality of living in parts of the world where life is not as easy as in those the viewers may find themselves in. There is something here about showing the truth, the harsh truth, as it is. The film does its best to be honest and comes off as such in its depiction of women’s issues, compounded here by poverty, violence, and a lack of opportunities to make their lives better. Even among all of this, Luchadoras shows that all is not lost for these women and when they work hard and oftentimes together, they can really pull themselves out of despair and make a life for themselves that may just get better.

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