HARDACRE FILM FESTIVAL a wrestler at Lake Stevens, the movie looks at how the team almost falls apart and somehow manages to come together for a successful season. At the center of the documentary is Steven, one of those kids to whom God decided to give a thousand problems and one great blessing. In this case, the problems include bad grades, a dead friend, indecent exposure and tremendous selfishness. The blessing is that he wrestles
in which our own Sasha Waters Freyer, of The University of Iowa, explores just how much historical freight can be packed into our fleeting moments. Playing gently with a very early travelogue, she focuses our attention on race, civilization, class, adventure and—why not just say it?—life itself, all in the span of nine minutes.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES • On the mat
When I was in high school, we wrestlers used to take pride in the fact that, while you play football, basketball, baseball and so on, you don’t play wrestling. You wrestle. It’s an existential fact. You and a human of your same weight go up against each other without the help of a team, without equipment, without anything but skill and will. You find out who you are. Fredric Golding’s new documentary On the Mat explores one season of high school wrestling at Lake Stevens’ High School, north of Seattle, and how a group of young men find out who they are through wrestling. Narrated by Chris Pratt (the mildly-handsome shoe-shiner in Parks and Recreation), who himself was once
brilliantly. Through what must have been perceived as great luck by the documentarian, Lake Stevens’ whole season comes down to the unstable wrestler’s final match. In the first few minutes of On the Mat I feared the doc was going to be a straightforward celebration of wrestling culture. In a way, it is. But it quickly gets into the harshness of human personality and what sports can do to improve or worsen us. By the time the movie is over, you’re not only rooting for the main characters, you understand the compassion and luck required to allow skill and will to triumph. • Wonder Women!: The Untold Story of American Superheroines
What are the two greatest things on the planet? I’ll tell you: bad-ass babes and comics. What happens when those two things collide? A mild-mannered documentarian/comic nerd is bitten by a radioactive feminist and is magically imbued with superhuman conscience and flair, I’m assuming. The result is Wonder Women! (Kristy Guevara-Flanagan), a film which at once made me feel empowered and like a terrible “emotional woman” stereotype August 2012 | Little Village