The Wheels Of Justice, preparing for a game in the film "Brutal Beauty"
Brutal Beauty: Tales Of The Rose City Rollers
Director: Chip Mabry
Roller derby attracts a certain type of woman and Mabry’s obvious goal was to display her strengths. He did this through interviews of long time players from the Rose City Rollers while incorporating their everyday lives in Portland, Oregon. He showed the men and women associated with derby doing their dishes, watering their plants, and working while they talked about their passion for the sport and what it has done for their lives. This allowed for the understanding that roller derby participants incorporate the game into their lifestyles. Many say they play for the release it gives them from the everyday mundane. It is a physical outlet but also a social one. Derby facilitates very strong, very independent women to find each other and connect on a different level to build a unique community. Mabry started out with the basics. The rules and the development of the league were explained, but when he started to identify key players the movie became much more interesting. He showed the women’s derby personalities by having them talk about the choosing of their derby names. Once these personalities were known, the film went deeper into their individual connections with the sport. One player, White Flight, works with kids and believes that derby can be used as a tool to show women in unconventional, positive roles. Blood Clottia is a social worker that sees hard life everyday and states that “roller derby saved her soul.” Other players were used to show the dynamics of being in a relationship while also participating in roller derby. Once inner and outer personalities of the players were established, Mabry started to show track play and the highs and lows of games and competition. The film then focused on physical injuries that are common in the sport and also how these typically force women into retirement, the emphasis was on the fact that most have a hard time leaving. The film came to a close as the interviewees spoke about how the chapter of derby in their lives was coming to a close. The story of each player makes you feel a connection to them and the league. When the film was over, I really wanted to know what the players and the team had been doing since then. I can also see how it would make anyone unfamiliar with derby curious enough to go out and see a game. That alone makes this film successful, but it is also successful because it showed how derby can reconcile the tough, independent chick with the beautiful, passionate lady.