WEDNESDAY, MAY 5 | MAMACHAS DEL RING | 7:00 PM | NCPD
|MAMACHAS DEL RING
DATE: WEDNESDAY, MAY 5
TIME: 7:00 PM
MAMACHAS DEL RING
(United States/Bolivia, 2009) Dir.: Betty M. Park
Video, 75 min., color, documentary, in Spanish w/ E.S.
Betty Park’s MAMACHAS DEL RING is a film that will suture you in immediately: for its unbeatable woman power, the first indigenous women wrestler’s of Bolivia, and their fight for the right over their own bodies and desires. Yet, it is a difficult situation in which the intriguing Carmen Rosa finds herself in. Being not only female, but belonging to an ethnic minority AND performing a brutal and male-dominated activity like wrestling, Carmen faces ongoing discrimination, criticism and ridiculing. Together with her two close wrestling buddies, Carmen consistently keeps working on her wrestling passion. In the traditional pollera, their wrestling dresses as well as everyday life clothes, the three sacrifice all of their free time while fulfilling the many obligations as mother, wife, and street vendor. On top of that, the notoriously egoistical league commissioner Don Juan Mamani tries to get rid of what he sees (but denies) as serious competition in excluding them from practice locations, only to represent once more the assignment of a very restricted place to women in society. It seems therefore to be only a question of time until her husband, anxiously seeing his wife being beaten up and still very supportive at the beginning, intervenes and sets her an ultimatum – wrestling or the family.
While wrestling becomes the women’s expression of a desire to equally participate in a patriarchal if not to say misogynist world, and while they hereby question the gendered division of labor and space and evoke controversy, the mamachas have lots of fans and admirers, too. Just follow the faces of the fascinated audience – small children, old women, middle-aged men; and what we see is pure excitement, awe, and malicious pleasure. Yes, it is indeed like going to the cinema. Not everybody then resembles the man at the film’s opening sequence who dares to insult Carmen Rosa as selling her body like a prostitute, and who therefore receives a couple of decent punches straight into his face from her. Leaving him behind bleeding, Carmen explains to understand her wrestling as a gesture of empowerment for both the indigenous women and Bolivia as a whole. Why is it, she asks, that these guys never comment on male wrestlers? And she is so right to ask.
— Feng-Mei Heberer