Friday, 10 June 2016

ROLLING, ROLLING, ROLLING




















UNHOLY ROLLERS, d. Vernon Zimmerman (1972)

Filmed in an episodic, documentary style Unholy Rollers is a fun film with one extraordinary element: Claudia Jennings. Jennings, who had recently appeared in Playboy, gives an amazing performance. Her character is mean, scheming, contrary, and anarchic. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and thrives on bad vibes and jealousy. Her brief period of fame only makes her worse, and she learns absolutely no life lessons from her very public fall. She is unapologetically and irredeemably bad: there is no soft focus redemption scene, no heartrending backstory, no big, tearful speech about how badly the world has treated her. It’s enormously refreshing to realise that she simply doesn’t give a care. She’s great.

The roller derby world is something of a closed book to me, but it seems to be a true working class sport: unfashionable, small time, full of fighting – but democratic and empowering, seedy and magnificent in equal measure. It’s a great setting for a film and says everything you need to know about the characters and the limited options they have available to them.  

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