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Janny, Lisa, Debby and Michelle are 12 years old when they leave home. The \"Elite School of Sport\" at Frankfurt/Oder, a boarding school in East German tradition is where they move to. They grow up in a strict corset of training schedules, weight classes and pressure to perform. Being wrestlers, they all dream of a championship title, though off the mat, each girl fights her very own battle: Janny is searching for her standing within the group, Debby fights her own expectations, Lisa is homesick and Michelle quarrels with her weight.The documentary Win by Fall follows the wrestlers trying to find their place, as well as away from competitive rankings.
It is a documentary about 12-year-old wrestlers who endure hard training to make their dreams come true. Four girls – Debby, Janny, Lisa, and Michelle – in preparation for the German National Sports Festival leave the nest to join a wrestling boarding school. The film follows these young wrestlers’ fierce journey to winning a championship title, focusing on how they cope with physical training, dorm life, mental training, and competition.
These young girls are thrown into the harsh world of competition where perseverance will make them a winner. They grow up in a strict corset of training schedules, weight classes, and pressure to perform, always being exposed to the risk of injury. The film roughly consists of four parts respectively on their day-to-day dorm lives, physical training, mental training, and real-life competitions, and switches alternately from one to another to show the lives of these four wrestlers. Their daily lives are not so different from those of other kids. They spend their time styling their hair, trimming their nails, talking to their moms on the phone, and joking around with their friends. They participate in physical training including tightrope walking, jogging, and cycling as well as in mental training to push themselves beyond their limits to achieve their goals. It is also possible to see them competing in the real-life competitions such as the German National Sports Festival and the European Wrestling Championship. By vividly showing how they juggle all these, the film breathes life into its characters and creates an elaborate and coherent story about them.
Win by Fall subverts the stereotypical body image of girls who are vulnerable and love to dress up by showing their body movements in slow motion along with the sounds of heavy breathing, loud footsteps, and shouting. In the last scene, Michelle and other girls sing together “Titanium,” a song worth paying attention to since its lyrics have something to do with the message the film intends to deliver. (Sunah KIM)
Anna KOCHAnna KOCH