8th October 2016 3.30pm at Prince Charles Cinema
9th October 2016 9.00pm at Hackney Picturehouse
Ovarian Psycos claims that one in three women will experience sexual or other physical violence in their lifetime. It is empowerment and freedom from this violence that the all-female biker group named in the title seeks to achieve for its members. Made up of women of colour, many of whom have experienced “some kind of trauma in their lives”, the Ovarian Psycos roam the streets of east Los Angeles with bicycles and bandanas, receiving equal amounts applause and derision from their communities.
Concisely and unapologetically, directors Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle bring this underworld to life by following three key members of the group. First is Xela de la X, a hip -hop artist and the group’s founder, who struggles with a traumatic past riddled with abuse, and a present in which she must reconcile the duties of leading the Ovarian Psycos and caring for her own young daughter. Second is Andi Xoch, an artist and optimistic free-spirit, whose mother struggles to understand her daughter’s love for the group and their cause. Finally we visit Evie, who at 21 is already juggling work and university, while being urged by her mother to find a man and settle down. The Ovarian Psycos provide a sisterhood for her, but one her family fears will lead her into violence and apathy.
Moving from LA’s dazzling uptown beaches to its less savoury Eastside neighbourhoods, the film documents the many cultural taboos broken by the women in their efforts to break free of damaging stereotypes and gender roles. Evie’s mother, having escaped war in El Salvador, wants her daughter to stay in school and have more opportunities, which is also what the members desire most for each other. Unfortunately, Ovarian Psycos stops short of specifying exactly what projects and aims the group has, and very little action or drama is caught on camera. Nevertheless, the vivid, slow-motion shots of the women cycling through Eastside with their faces hidden by bandanas are dramatic and memorable, and perfectly capture the determination and strength of the Ovarian Psycos.
Though its brisk 72-minute runtime prevents the filmmakers from delving too deeply into any one issue, this piece is an effective first step in witnessing the real lives of often underrepresented groups of society, and beautifully brings to life an unseen side of Los Angeles.
Ovarian Psycos does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Ovarian Psycos here: