The Railroad All Stars

The Railroad All Stars

The Railroad All Stars (Spain, 2006, Director: Chema Rodriguez, 91 minutes): The film tells the story of an unlikely soccer team made up of Guatemalan prostitutes, formed to draw attention to the constant harassment and violence they suffer. Although this sounds desperately sad, the film was filled with moments of humour and even joy. Shot on a tiny budget, the actual soccer scenes were hard to watch, both for the jerky camera movements and the necessity of watching subtitles. But this film was filled with memorable characters, from Marina, the one-eyed ex-prostitute alcoholic and her devoted husband, to Valeria, the beauty with the gang member boyfriend in prison for murder.

La Linea is the railway line that runs through their poor neighbourhood, and so they name their team Estrellas de la Linea and begin taking on teams all over the country, including a team of female police officers. The whole idea of these women forming a unified group is remarkable in itself, since the very nature of their work makes them rivals with each other. And indeed the team and its political program is short-lived, but we do get a sense that many of these women want to change their lives.

Unfortunately, the situation in Guatemala remains bad, with violence against women (especially prostitutes) continuing to rise. The hope for real change is dim, but at least in the lives of these particular women, we see some rays of light.

PDF and link to story from The Global Game from November 2004

NPR story from January 2005 on the team


NOW Toronto: NNN (out of 5) (review)
EYE Weekly: *** (out of 5) (review)

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