Blood on the Flat Track Lainy Bagwell and Lacey Leavitt

Blood on the Flat Track Lainy Bagwell and Lacey Leavitt
In the world of roller derby, each two-minute jam consists of five players from two competing teams forming a pack, which travels around the flat track keeping each other from passing. Points are scored when the jammer — a player visible by a helmet cover featuring two stars — weasels their way through the pack and laps the opposing team. At the back of the pack are the pivots, who have stripes on their helmet and act as the last line of defence. Understanding these rules is key to comprehending much of what goes on in Blood on the Flat Track, a documentary about the success of the Seattle-based Rat City Rollergirls. Without them, the film is little more than a bunch of third-wave feminists skating around in circles, throwing around indecipherable terminology and strategies. Interviews with league members such as Basket Casey, Shovey Chase, Dirty Little Secret and Hot Carla (dirty!) reveal how the league was formed and its gradual evolution through venues of increasing size, leading to tournaments with other rollergirl divisions countrywide. While these initial informational titbits prove interesting, giving us an understanding of the goings on, the documentary quickly loses its sense of purpose, delivering little more than league gossip and in-house drama. Of course, to some, learning that the Socket Wenches have some of the dirtiest players and that the DLR (Derby Liberation Front) are the determined lesbians may prove quite interesting, in a reality television sort of way. Regardless, interviews are candid and roller derby footage is extensive, giving those that want to see girls roller-skating in short skirts their money's worth. Included with the DVD is a brief league update, along with a supplement on the various tattoos the girls have. A feature-length commentary brings many league players together to chat about their impressions of the documentary, providing additional, and often amusing, anecdotes. (Mongrel Media)