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Some of the indigenous women in Oaxaca flipping the norms of soccer on their heads. Photo: VALIENTES
Some of the indigenous women in Oaxaca flipping the norms of soccer on their heads. Photo: VALIENTES

A movie about the brave indigenous women breaking the norms of soccer in Mexico

VALIENTES is a film about women from Oaxaca staking a claim in what has long been considered a man’s game and explores the similarities between the sport and…

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The Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) is one of the most important events of cinema in Latin America. 

The festival is held annually and since its first edition in 2003, has been acclaimed worldwide by critics for its careful movie selection. The FICM’s objective is to promote emerging talent, while also increasing the cinematographic demand in Mexico.

In an attempt to adapt to the norms presented by the “new reality,” imposed over the last couple of months, this year’s festival is being held online. 

The FICM has presented a free initiative called FICM Presents Online with the idea to keep moviegoers at home while also enjoying quality content. The film catalog includes movies, documentaries, short films, and animation films that will be available on the FICM Youtube platform until June 28. 

One of the available films is VALIENTES, directed by Alejandro Guerrero Lara. The short film takes place in the Mixtec highlands of Oaxaca and relates the story of a group of women that enjoys playing soccer together. 

The group is led by Nancy García, also known for her appearance in the Oscar-winning movie Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2019) and their mission to combat the gender and racial inequalities they suffer using soccer as an escape.

VALIENTES is a film that breaks with ancient paradigms that people have carried for generations, considering soccer a male sport. It is also a film that portrays the similarities that exist between the Mixtec culture and soccer, showing that the actions that commonly take place on the field are often related to everyday situations. 

As Nancy García explained, “the Mixtecan culture is characterized for the unity among its community, a value that is also required when playing soccer.” Soccer is a game played by 11 individuals that represent a team and the participation of each member is equally important to achieve success and win games. 

VALIENTES reinforces the idea that soccer, and sports in general, serve as a mirror of a culture’s principles. The soccer field is a space where community values can be shared, practiced, and reinforced. 

The film also focuses on portraying some of the difficulties the group of brave women had to face to play the game. For generations women have been rejected. 

The aim and objective of the women in the film is to demonstrate the opposite and change that long-standing idea. 

VALIENTES promotes soccer as a diverse sport that, despite old beliefs, can be played by anyone. 

“It’s just a matter of take the risk and dare,” said García

Here is the link to watch VALIENTES, a great option for those who enjoy sports and cinema.

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