Sunday, 9 October 2016

BFI London Film Festival - Ovarian Psycos

I went into this film without reading anything  (apart from the fest programme) and this was on purpose. I'm thankful I did. A documentary about an inspiring group of women in Eastside LA who are taking back the streets and their homes through bicycle rides through the city. They are the Ovarian Psycos

Directed by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-La Valle, the film was made over two years. Following the beginnings of the groups ambitions and rallying new recruits, to how they can help and support their community as well as each other. Made up of women from the Eastside LA area, Boyle Heights, the women meet every month for the Luna Ride. The group, now more of an organisation, has attracted attention in both positive and negative ways. The positive being what the group represents to each other and to other women seeking to take part. The Ovas in the film, both past and present all say the same thing, they wanted to be apart of the group because of the support they gave each other and the cycling aspect. 

The film also focuses in on three members of the brigade, Xela, the founder of the group who is a single mother with a broken childhood. She is also an activist and hip hop artist who is trying to do what's best for her daughter and for the group. Andi, a street artist who makes gender bending toys and who rises up in the group to help take charge. Then there is Evie, a new recruit who feels she has found her home with the group and by being part of it finds she has confidence in life.

Beyond this sense of 'together we're stronger' there also comes the political factor. A segment of the film goes a little deeper in erasing parts of history and how women of colour issues and movements have been pushed aside for other people's agendas.  Historian Maylei Blackwell talks about the Chicano Power movement in 1960s which puts some context on the political side of what the Ovas want to achieve.

Seeing the women band together on their night bike rides isn't intimidating as some people in the film expressed, it was empowering. The negative views about the group has come from men, unfortunately, and the older generation. The complaints that if men were to form a cycling group, they'd be called a 'gang' and that the Ovarian Psycos were excluding people from joining. For me, I think the point of the organisation went over theor heads. Women seeking a group to be apart of is not excluding men for the sake of excluding them, there are plenty of organisations and groups of men where can do what they want and are not persecuted for not allowing others to join, so why are the Ovas being attacked?? It really made me angry.

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