Ovarian Psycos Directed by Kate Trumbull-LaValle and Johanna Sokolowski
Published Apr 30, 2016Ovarian Psycos is a punk rock doc in the vein of The Decline of Western Civilization: it may not be the most polished thing in the world, but damn if it doesn't capture the passion and rage of a particular marginalized group in a particular moment in time. In this case, it's that of modern Chicanas living under the stigma of institutionalized racism, taking inspirations from riot grrrl and indigenous culture alike.
Following a Latina L.A. biker girl gang and their monthly sojourns across the desert (timed to coincide with full moons in a deliberate nod to menstruation), Ovarian Psycos literally and figuratively shouts its anger from the rafters (with such great mottos as, "Ovaries so big we don't need no balls"), lacing it with messages about commitment to community and sisterhood. It's a deliberately personal story, centred on the experiences of a few girls in the bike squad and their struggles within a patriarchal, oppressive system that's covered here in such a microcosmic way that the doc feels concise, intimate and compelling despite its occasional roughness. The Ovas, as they call themselves, are political and poetic, their rhetoric of "riding" against anti-feminism and anti-gentrification powerful as a result. The visual of swathes of women on bikes wearing bandannas emblazoned with ovaries is intense and gorgeous.
Ovas leader Xela De La X, an MC and at-risk youth advocate who faces discrimination as a working-class single mom of colour who's deeply proud of her urban roots and community, is particularly inspiring. She and the rest of the young women in the film are upfront about their rides as being routes to healing, both for themselves and for the female community. Using this passion and anger and channelling it into a healthy and, frankly, badass method of healing is its strongest message. Under the grit, there's hope at the core of Ovarian Psycos. (Sylvia Frances Films)