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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Estrellas de La Linea (The Railroad All Stars)


When you are used to watch movies that show you fiction or a romanticized/dramatized view of reality you tend to forget that when watching a documentary you are not watching fiction or actors, you are seeing raw reality.

This outstanding documentary, winner of two awards in Spain and many accolades in the 2006 Berlinale, is very entertaining and it will make you laugh as well as feel very uncomfortable, as what you are seeing is the life of people. But is raw reality, very close to many of us in different cities around the globe.

This time I am going to copy the summary from the 2006 Berlinale site instead of giving you my summary.

“Valeria, Vilma and Mercy are prostitutes living in Guatemala. The price for their services is two dollars. All three belong to a group of women who work in the vicinity of “La Linea”, the railway line that cuts straight across Guatemala City and runs to the Pacific Ocean. All of them dream of being treated with respect, and that the violence against them will end.

In order to publicize their plight – that also includes regular police harassment – they decide to found a soccer team. After weeks of training, they register for a local championship. But they are barred from taking part – simply because they are prostitutes. Their disqualification unleashes some hefty controversy that has a significant effect on their lives.

“We are women and mothers first, prostitutes second”, is the pronouncement at the top of their list of demands. Vilma, Valeria, Mercy and the other women are not inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are women and mothers who are struggling to survive in a world full of violence and hypocrisy; women and mothers who have dreams, just like any other. “Women and Mothers” is therefore the slogan on a banner celebrating these female players from the wrong side of the tracks, as the newly-christened “Stars of La Linea” finally walk out onto the pitch to take part in the decisive game…”

The dvd has only one special feature that shows when some of the players went to Barcelona for the premier of the documentary. This featurette finishes with Chema Rodriguez saying and I am paraphrasing “we did not have to ask permission to the authorities to do the documentary, we had to ask the permission of the gangs that control La Linea”.

Not an easy film to see, but again, Chema Rodriguez managed to produce a very entertaining with real humor document that has to be seen allover the world. Do not miss it if you have the dvd near you.

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