A young girl is running up a mountain. She’s fast on her feet and unencumbered by the harsh running conditions such a climb poses. In the background, we hear a dreamy song in the Tarahumara language (also called Rarámuri) about the kind of running she’s engaged in. Donning the traditional garb of the Tarahumara, including a floral skirt and a pair of huaraches, this young member of that Mexican indigenous group is, like her father before her, a running star in the making. Her name is Lorena Ramírez. And she’s the subject of a new short documentary film titled Lorena, la de pies ligeros. Directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo, the short doc looks to be a portrait of Lorena as she trains and runs in the mountains where she grew up as well as in the many races she’s come to dominate.
Despite focusing on Lorena, Rulfo’s film is a chronicle of a Tarahumara tradition that dates back generations: Rulfo’s subtitle, which translates into “the light-footed one,” for example, is but a Spanish version of what the Tarahumara call themselves: Rarámuri aka light-footed. For centuries these communities, which now live in the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, have been lauded for their long-distance running skills, a feat Lorena embodies to this day. As she says in the trailer for the doc, “As long as my body lets me, I’m going to keep on running.”
Marrying the pastoral world she inhabits with a kinetic sports doc sensibility, Lorena, la de pies ligeros looks like both a contemporary look at a fearless indigenous woman as well as a thrilling look at yet another female athlete staying true to herself while setting herself apart.
Lorena, la de pies ligeros (Lorena, Light-Footed Woman) debuts November 20, 2019, on Netflix.