The big screen documentary Cassandro, the Exotico! puts the spotlight ona gender-bending gay performer. 47-year-old Saul Armendariz, known in the wrestling ring as Cassandro, is the openly gay champion of Mexico’s exotico wrestling circuit, a subgenre featuring competitors in drag and generous doses of camp vamping between back-breaking suplexes.
Famed as much for his flamboyant drag and sky-high pompadour as for his show-stopping kicks and flips, Cassandro’s trailblazing ascent as one the industry’s first openly gay wrestlers has resonated internationally for a quarter century. The compassionate, funny, and fabulous Cassandro, the Exotico!, shot entirely on 16mm film, follows the “Liberace of the Lucha Libre” in his final years of competition, struggling with opponents, the cruel passage of time, utilizing bold experimental conceits, to dig into the seeming paradox posed by the existence of this fierce femme in the most macho of pastimes.