Derby Crazy Love, Director — Maya Gallus and Justine Pimlott

One of the reasons I love documentaries is that you can never be sure what you are going to learn but almost always it is something you did not expect. Those of you old enough to remember the 70’s and roller derby being on TV all the time would appreciate this film. Although roller derby declined in enthusiasm after a brief time after inspiring that great James Caan film Rollerball, it is now experiencing a revival internationally. This film focussed on an international tournament and in the process on some of the stars of the game. The film centred on a Montreal women’s team as they prepare to compete with teams from around the world. To increase the anticipation of the climax we also get insight into players on the team from New York City and London, England. The interesting thing is that the recent revival is largely by female teams and it is totally amateur. This film appears to imply that this is largely a subculture within the lesbian community but in reality, ability to skate is much more important to the players than sexual orientation. There is however a whole culture around player pseudonyms and tattoos. The names are great including Michelle O’Bam Ya and Princess Lay-ya Flat. The women interviewed expressed concern that this aspect of the amateur game may be hurt as popularity expands. There are talks of the game making the Olympics in 2020 and other moves toward professional leagues. Still the charm of the film itself is in the characters interviewed and the progress toward the tournament. I guess I was not sure what to expect and was surprised but as I reflect on it – it was fun.