The Railroad All-Stars (Estrellas de La Linea)

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The story began conventionally - as a gritty and depressing snapshot of south American street life - but rapidly grew so idiosyncratic, colorful and amusing that it inspired international headlines. An untold number of years ago, La Linea, the most crime-infested borough of Guatemala City, sprouted a group of destitute hookers who lived beside the railroad tracks and averaged $2.00 per trick. With the looming threat of violence and police brutality, however (not to mention the ever diminishing quality of their lives), the women needed to make the world aware of the danger and misery inherent in their situations, and raise support for improved conditions. They thus cooked up a clever scheme to do so: the prostitutes formed a soccer team, and trained rigorously for months on end, whipping themselves - and their bodies - into pitch-perfect shape and qualifying for a local championship. As the Guatemalan news outlets exploded over the sensationalism of these events, the public - incensed at the thought of their adolescent sons going head to head with whores in soccer matches - vitriolically objected and had the team expelled from the league after a single game, which only increased the women's determination and sent them on a city-to-city tour, across Guatemala, challenging every official team they could find. In her heartfelt documentary The Railroad All-Stars, writer-director Chema Rodriguez tells the women's stories, both individually and collectively, via footage of the individual matches and touching, insightful one-on-one interviews with the participants. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


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