The Fighting Cholitas is a twenty minute documentary about Bolivian Indian women who perform as fake “wrestlers” in exhibitions modeled after the more familiar American “wrestling.” One of the novelties is that the women perform in traditional attire—long flowing skirts and petticoats and such.
They’re pretty good, well trained, stunt persons, but what they’re doing still involves risks and can result in minor or major injuries. I winced several times watching them throw each other around.
About half of the film shows the women in the ring and in the stadium before and after their exhibitions, and half is “up close and personal” background interviews with the performers, who all lead normal lives.
The main things I take away from the film are that this kind of “wrestling” is every bit as silly in this Bolivian context as any other, and that it’s a little depressing when foreigners end up mimicking the most moronic elements of American culture.
But I’ll admit the human side of the film is mildly interesting. The women are proud of their performances, they get to feel important due to their newfound notoriety in the community, their self-esteem and confidence in general is higher, and they speak of how important it is to them that their daughters rise to their full potential.
The Fighting Cholitas is a nice little film in its way.