EIFF 2009: The Last Heroes of the Peninsula

Film Review by James Campbell | 20 Jun 2009
  • The Last Heros of the Peninsula
Film title: The Last Heroes of the Peninsula
Director: José Manuel Cravioto
Starring: Miguel Canto, Guty Espadas, Juan Herrera, Freddie Castillo, Israel Madera
Release date: TBC
Certificate: TBC

In the 1970s, the city of Mérida, in the Mexican peninsula state Yucatán, delivered a series of compact gladiators who conquered the world of boxing. Their stories do not conform to the sporting cliché of rise, fall and redemption. This feature-length documentary debut from José Cravioto is forged in the "hardened memory of lost dreams", as legendary trainer Jésus Rivero quotes from Chávez. Weaving together personal accounts, archival footage and stills, Cravioto explores the humble lives of men still overlooked by mainstream sporting history, who wish to be remembered for their moments of glory. Despite some stylistic flourishes, tight structure and fascinating subjects, Last Heroes of the Peninsula is too brooding and meditative to make for compelling viewing. Its pace picks up for the final act, which packs a visual punch out of keeping with the rest of this predominantly oral history. A film for boxing fans and the culturally inquisitive.

Showing as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009.