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The Iron Ladies (Satree-lex)  

Director: Yongyooth Thongkonthun

Sport films by and large follow a certain formula: a bunch of misfits struggle against the odds to finally make it to the big time leaving the audience at the end with a warm fuzzy feeling. "The Iron Ladies" doesn't deviate from this tried-and-tested formula, but like "Cool Runnings", its based on true story of how a volleyball team composed mostly of transsexuals, transvestites and some rather effeminate gay guys made it to the national championships in 1996.

Mon is a fantastic volleyball player who has always been passed over because he is gay. He believes that his dream of playing in the national team is unachievable until luck - and a new coach - gives him a chance to accomplish his dream. Because most of the regular team mates are uncomfortable with his sexuality, he and best friend Jung (a mischievous queen) put together their own volleyball team, headed by a very straight, very unwilling captain. Battling everything from broken nails and catfights to heartbreak and homophobia, they eventually come together as a team and win almost everybody with their style and camp humor.

"The Iron Ladies" is full of heart and cheerfulness, and although it is obvious that the presence of larger-than-life gay characters depicted here, comfortable with themselves (and more when in make-up) projects a positive image about sexuality; it doesn't really set out to be a community message film. Of course this film wouldn't be for everyone - but given the chance, the humor and the antics of the characters will win you over and make you laugh. And stay for the credits - the real-life Iron Ladies appear.

Eden Law

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