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By Mike Johnson on 2018-02-12 08:20:00

The excellent GAEA Girls documentary, which follows the training of young talents in the Japanese dojo of the women's wrestling promotion of the same name, will have its first screening in New York City in over a decade on 3/1 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, NY.

Promotional material for the screening, a benefit to assist the American Genre Film Archive in their ongoing quest to preserve and restore unique films, notes: 

"Kim Longinotto’s and Jano Williams’ film is a fascinating look at the physically grueling and mentally exhausting training regimen of Japanese women wrestlers who aspire to be part of the much-coveted Gaea Girls. The Gaea circuit is a homegrown version of the World Wrestling Foundation and its costumes and theatrical grappling are a low-budget facsimile of Western wrestling – no fancy martial arts and sumo moves here.

The film takes us inside the Gaea training camp where you will meet several young recruits including Wakabayashi, who ran away the first time around; Sato, a spindly 16 year old, who has waited patiently to join for 3 years; and Nagay Chigusa, the shock-haired, pugnacious fighter in charge of the training camp. But the most heart-wrenching story of all is that of Takeuchis; she is routinely humiliated by Nagayo and reduced to a sniveling, bloodied wreck when it is all too evident that, in sparring bout after sparring bout, she lacks sheer bodyweight and strength to attempt to understand those who would go against Japan’s apparent preference for all things demure, restrained and where women are concerned."

The film was well received on the film festival circuit when it was released in 2000, including winning Best of Festival in the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Best of Festival Section and a Silver Hugo in the Chicago International Film Festival.

he last time the film screened in New York City was 2003 as part of Japanese arts culture programming at the Museum of Natural History.

For more details or to purchase tickets, click here.

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