In the Turn is another important new documentary to be screened by Cinema Politica
If you mark off one thing from your not-so-updated checklist coming back from reading week, it should be to attend Cinema Politica’s screening of In the Turn. The film will be shown as part of the independent Canadian female shorts program FemDoc, shedding light on award-winning filmmaker Erica Tremblay.
“I didn’t want to live my life if I had to be a boy,” said Crystal Labonte at the very beginning of Tremblay’s documentary. This is a 10-year-old transgender girl from Northern Ontario who stopped playing sports in her region after being excluded from both male and female teams. The first time Crystal tried to commit suicide she was only five.
In the Turn is much more than just a documentary about a Canadian family trying to stay positive through the bullying and daily ignorance. It is about a whole world that opens up to Crystal when she discovers Vagine Regime, a badass non-judgmental and LGBT-friendly queer community whose only condition of admission is to have a vagina and know how to play roller-derby.
Moving from Los Angeles to New York, the camera beautifully captures scenes from the lives of these skaters, who have experienced personal empowerment after joining the war machine and political tool that is Vagine Regime. Fifi Nomenon, Sweet Hurt, Summer Crush, Tough Soles, Bonnie Thunders, Go-Go Gidget and many others are role models Crystal never had while growing up.
Tori Harris Talavera, the associate producer of the documentary, is also the founder of this energetic and unapologetically different community that was started in 2007. The collective’s members advocate sport as a way of coming together, knocking down the field’s restriction-based system. In the course of the documentary, Vagine Regime will give Crystal shelter, as well as the strength and support she needed to rebuild the childhood that was stolen away from her.
Erica Tremblay’s reality-grounded approach paradoxically comes to the point where playing with the audience’s emotions turns the film into a mind-blowing piece of work. Tremblay’s subjects might be gay or transgender, but above all they are hard-working skaters. Interviews with these impressive women effectively overlap with intimate moments of everyday life, making it special and clear that a person’s sexuality is the last thing that should define them. “We get to dictate how the sport grows and the rules that govern our team, our game and our body,” said Kasey Bomber, an announcer at roller derby tournaments, to sum up the idea.
The director’s magic lies in her ability to find hope and empowerment in this young girl’s despair. In the Turn comes as an amazingly feel-good documentary with a message that is both straightforward and similar to that of Mark Kenneth Woods and Michael Yerxa’s Take Up the Torch (2015)—acceptance comes once you find within yourself the confidence and mindset worthy of a real athlete.
In the Turn will be screened on March 7 at 7 p.m. at Room H-110. Cinema Politica screenings are donation-based and free of charge. Find out more at cinemapolitica.org