Arena Mexico is like Rome’s Coliseum – and is just as steeped in Mexico City’s mythology. It holds over 13,000 spectators, but its influence extends well beyond the ropes. In the documentary Lucha Mexico, from filmmakers Ian Markiewicz and Alexandria Hammond, we gain access to the legendary space as a crowd raves for the luchadores, hyper masculine gladiators dressed in Lycra hot-pants, printed leotards and detailed masks.
Lucha libre, the Mexican sport-as-spectacle, has been gaining an audience in the United States and beyond because it’s similar to professional wrestling – blending technical maneuvers, sequences of holds and aerial moves – but with masked champions even more prone to theatrical staging. Outside the ring, we witness wrestlers engaging in mundane activities, but they remain national heroes – their images replicated on posters and copies of their masks hot souvenirs for tourists.
Lucha Mexico opens in theaters July 15th as well as on VOD.