Cassandro, the Exotico!
This stirring feature portrait of lucha libre star Cassandro in his waning years in the ring is less a swan song than a meteor shower rendered in Technicolor. Famed as much for his flamboyant drag and sky-high pompadour as for his show-stopping kicks and flips, Cassandro’s trailblazing ascent as one the industry’s first openly gay wrestlers has resonated internationally for a quarter century. Marie Losier captures the moving, at times humorous, and always colorful dualities of this legendary figure with her talent for forging intimacy with a subject while celebrating his individuality broadly. Cassandro, a prize-winning fighter who reinvented a staunchly macho sport, exudes resilience of all kinds—from the physical power to leave his opponents KOed to an ability to revisit past trauma and cope with the scars of a body pushed to its limits. Cassandro’s story—of an underdog and a queer icon, simultaneously fragile and mighty—is ever more evocative as it unfolds on both sides of the Mexican-American border. Losier’s signature 16mm filming melds tender encounters and larger-than-life fight scenes into a stylish whole that reflects the vivid textures and hues of a dazzling life in sport.
Sound: 5.1 surround & 2.0 stereo
- "This effervescent picture has an often infectious underground-movie aesthetic; my favorite manifestation comes early, in a sequence that juxtaposes Cassandro’s beaming face against a night sky full of fireworks."
- "The camera loves Cassandro, the title character of Marie Losier’s intimate and playful documentary portrait of the lucha libre wrestling champion, and he loves it back—not least because it lets him give voice to his real-life melodrama of struggle and success. Losier shows his astounding leaps and tumbles, and he shows the scars that resulted. Filming in the first person, she revels in Cassandro’s offstage charisma and in his acrobatic artistry while also revealing the authentic violence of the sport’s blatant artifice."
- "Ultimately, Cassandro The Exotico! is a phenomenal experience that succeeds in telling the story of this lucha libre legend. It’s one part celebration of a wrestling icon and one part intimate examination of the sacrifices – physical, mental, and emotional – that he endured in order to carve his place in history."
- "It’s a moving and sometimes amusing portrait of grit and glitter overcoming adversity...."
- "Cassandro The Exotico! is a delicate and exciting documentary that is not to be missed."
- "One of the most colourful Lucha Libre wrestlers, which is saying a lot, is profiled in this lyrical, entertaining documentary. Texas-born 48-year-old Cassandro (real name: Saul Armendariz) is thoroughly engaging, and filmmaker Marie Losier follows him intimately, creating a gently observant portrait of an outrageous man. While most Lucha Libre wrestlers wager their masks in matches, Cassandro bets his enormously fluffed-up hair. Of course, audiences adore him."
Awards & Recognition
Mar del Plata Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
Best Film by a New Director
Sao Paolo Int'l. Film Festival
Sichtwechsel Film Award
Hamburg Film Festival