Release date: March 28, 2015
Director: Hidekazu Takahara
Who should watch this movie: Fans of Netflix’s Cheer
When should you watch this movie: When you’re done with Cheer but you’re not done watching young female athletes injure themselves
The sell: Gamushara (loosely translated to “daredevil”), is a documentary about Act Yasukawa, a professional wrestler in the Japanese circuit. The movie does not, however, focus on her wrestling career. More than anything, this documentary is a portrait of a resilient woman and her path from trauma to healing. However, (surprise!) the healing aspect of that journey is not so simple. Through lengthy interviews, Yasukawa takes the audience back to her childhood and details the violence she faced at the hands of others as well as her own. It is clear that Yasukawa finds not only strength in wrestling, but also self actualization, which makes it so much more difficult when she is injured and later diagnosed with Graves disease. The documentary depicts Yasukawas unwillingness to leave wrestling despite it causing her great bodily harm. Gamushara is an intense film and not at all easy to watch, but Yasukawa’s candor is so moving that it’s impossible not to love and root for her. Sidenote, this movie was shown to me in a class on Japanese documentary where I had the hugest crush on the professor. Marianne Tarcov, if you’re out there, I love you come back to me.
CW Sexual violence, self harm