In his essay “The World of Wrestling,” Roland Barthes writes, “Wrestling is a sum of spectacles and the function of the wrestler is not to win: it is to go exactly through the motions that are expected of him.”
Welcome to the spectacular world of Lucha Mexico. Co-directors Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz take the audience deep inside the world of professional wrestling and, in particular, the impassioned subculture of lucha libre. This is a society all its own, with rules of behaviour, codes of honour, and a rich legacy of tradition and culture. Not to mention some nifty masks! With astonishing access, the film explores what drives the wrestlers to perform feats of strength and agility, often putting their bodies through incredible violence just to earn a living. At the heart of the film is the self-proclaimed “1000% Guapo” superstar known as Shocker. With an established history of wrestling in his family, Shocker is instantly one of the most recognizable faces in the industry. However, when he suffers an injury that has him sidelined for months, he’s left to confront the harsh realities of his livelihood.
Lucha Mexico isn’t just for wrestling fans, although the bouts themselves are almost overwhelming in their brutal pageantry. (Anyone who still thinks wrestling is fake, just listen to how hard these men and women hit.) Whether it’s the food and festivities or the adoration that their superstar personas receive from fans, the luchadores themselves form a vibrant and surprisingly loving community. -AP