Monday, January 11, 2016


doglegs 1

In a renegade Tokyo pro-wrestling league called Doglegs, the disabled battle the able-bodied in the name of smashing stereotypes. After 20 years of glory, the group’s star dreams of life beyond the mat, but his mentor isn’t letting go without a fight… Set against the backdrop of this impending showdown, the film takes us on an extraordinary journey inside the lives and loves of five prominent Doglegs members battling to claim their place in the world.

doglegs 6a This documentary is about a small troupe of disabled wrestlers based in Tokyo. It aims to challenge public perceptions toward disabilities. Five years in the making, the film follows the story of Shintaro Yano, a janitor with cerebral palsy who moonlights as a wrestler for Doglegs–the name of the group and the title of the film. Doglegs_6 “Doglegs is a thought provoking and powerful film about the struggles of the disabled to define themselves and to live on their own terms The original inspiration for Doglegs was as a brawl at a volunteer group for the disabled in 1991. Mr. Yano (Sambo Shintaro) got into a fight with another man with cerebral palsy over a girl they were interested in. As Mr. Yano pulled wrestling moves to the cheers of onlookers, the leader of the volunteer group and eventual founder of Doglegs, Yukinori Kitajima, saw that in the heat and excitement of the fight the men appeared alive and energized, liberated from social constraints and often condescending public views of the disabled. Doglegs has since held regular events drawing hundreds of spectators and spawning similar disabled wrestling troupes elsewhere in Japan.

Here's the Official Trailer!

I met with the director, Heath Cozens, and he allowed me to get an advanced viewing of the film a couple of weeks back.

I was deeply moved!

There's a whole lifestyle, both tragic and beautiful, captured boldly and without compromise while avoiding being exploitative. Somehow it manages to retain the dignity of all involved. As a documentary, I've never seen anything quite like it. A simultaneously visceral and metaphysical experience. I'm looking forward to seeing it again and I HIGHLY recommend everyone make every effort to catch the Japan roadshow when it comes to a theater near you!
For you folks in the Tokyo / Yokohama that would be Saturday January 9th! At the Tollywood theater and at the Pole Pole Higashi-Nakano theater (with English Subtitles)


Come out on 1/9 and make this as grand an opening as possible! I'll be at the Pole Pole Higashi Nakano at 9pm!
See ya there!

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