Lorena: Light-Footed Woman – Netflix Documentary Review

 

An Ordinary Woman Achieving Extraordinary Feats

Running has transformed my life. Five years ago I set myself a target to run a half-marathon after struggling to even run 100 metres for the bus. I trained, every morning before work, and eventually in 2016 I achieved my goal. Since then I’ve made running a core part of my life, although admittedly in recent times I haven’t been pounding the pavement as much as I used to. Running taught me how to self-discipline, how to set goals and more importantly, change my entire perspective on life.

I am constantly fascinated by documentaries on the topic and from Desert Runners and The Barkley Marathons, through to James Cracknell and Spirit Of The Marathon, I’ve watched an awful lot of films on this topic. Lorena: Light-footed Woman is a fascinating short-documentary about running but despite some visually stunning scenes and creative flair, fails to really nail its documentary portion as effectively as it shoud.

Maria Lorena Ramirez is an extraordinary woman achieving extraordinary running feats whilst wearing a very ordinary pair of sandals. Ultra-marathons are gruelling feats of endurance and strength alone but Lorena makes it look easy as we see her competing in several races in her trademark sandals, accompanied by classical music and some slick editing. Interspersed around this are various face to face interviews that discuss her home life up in the mountain ranges and a basic overview of her mental prowess while running but not a whole lot else. This woman is an absolutely fascinating character and having looked up more about her online and in books, a lot of her accomplishments are unfortunately missing from this documentary.

Her family has a storied history of running too but there isn’t an awful lot of background around this in the film. Even more frustratingly, Lorena mentions several times about her running accomplishments abroad but we never really follow any of those victories either. Some of that is partly thanks to the length though, which clocks in at a little over 26 minutes, making it difficult to really dive into too much detail on the subject. Don’t get me wrong, what’s here is perfectly enjoyable as a visual showcase but those looking for an in-depth documentary on Lorena may be left a bit disappointed.

Visually, the film is absolutely breathtaking. Seeing Lorena running on the various mountain ranges as aerial cameras sweep out to show the harsh drops and jagged rocks is enough to take your breath away whilst the clever juxtaposition of running in races with classical music compared to her running in the fields while she hums and sings works perfectly to artistically showcase the coming together of these two very different worlds. This, ultimately, is what makes this short film so endearing and aside from a few gripes I have around the lack of educational content and the short length, Lorena: Light-Footed Woman is an interesting short documentary film well worth checking out.

 


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