Hot Docs 2016: Ovarian Psycos Review

World Showcase

Ovarian Psycos follows a girl gang who ride bikes as a way to reclaim space on the streets of East Los Angeles. The group, Ovarian Psycos, considers the intersections of race, gender and class in its actions and takes up cycling in large groups in an effort to include the community in their political actions. Ovarian Psycos is an in depth look at both the lives of its group members and larger sociopolitical implications, oscillating between the two in a way that gives weight to the ideas brought up and culminating in an informative and important documentary.

Radical action is a difficult thing to document on film because the medium is inherently mediated, which tends to downplay the authenticity of the actions taking place. Ovarian Psychos, however, walks the line of characterizing its subjects on a personal level and making an integral political statement in a way that is seemingly genuine in depicting the lived experiences of second-generation Mexican women living in East Los Angeles.

The film follows many members but it is founding member Xela and newest member Evie who provide the most interesting insight. When talking about Ovos, Xela very precisely expresses both her own emotional journey growing up in a Post Colonial Mexican Household and now, raising her young daughter. Like many other Ovarian Psycos, her experience of family is complicated, which only fortifies the necessity of the group. Evie, whose family does not understand or approve of her desire to be a part of the Ovos, provides easy access for the audience to get an inside look of the functions and organization of the group.


Ultimately, the Ovarian Psycos were born of a fundamental need for safety and there is something very powerful about watching young women and female identified folks band together and take up space in these really needed ways. The gang spends much of the film on their bikes, and through the cinematography, it’s easy to see why they feel most protected and free while riding together.

Regardless of one’s background, the documentary actively engages its viewers to think critically about social formation, power and space through the thoughts and feelings of the Ovarian Psycos. Ovarian Psycos is as powerful as it is political, making it a must see for riot grrls, bikers and outcasts alike.

Friday May 6, 9:30pm, Scotiabank Theatre 13