Agile, athletic, and amazons: that's what Plastik Patrik, a drag queen roller derby announcer, calls the tough, powerful, and dedicated jammers and blockers who live for the sport. And he's spot on.
The invigorating Derby Crazy Love captures Montreal's New Skids on the Block at a pivotal point in their careers. They're on the cusp of breaking into the top echelons of women's roller derby. They're transitioning from their fun, grassroots, self-managed, DIY ethos to much more serious competition. Signs of change are all around. Marketers are circling them. Their ambition to whip the asses of their rivals, London's Rollergirls, and to be on par with the world's top team, New York City's Gotham Girls, points to their direction into new territory.
In the meantime, this documentary touches upon the numerous facets of the rapidly growing game, including gender issues (such as female-empowerment and differences in attitudes towards aggression), queer-inclusivity, counter-culture elements, and more.
The history of the sport is casually cobbled together but a particular strength of the film is how the women articulate their love for the sport: their sense of belonging, their healthy channeling of aggression through it, their collective passion, and the depth of their emotional investment is inspiring and infectious. It's enough to make anyone, male or female, want to strap on a helmet and score some laps.
Rio Theatre, May 9 (9 p.m.).