Speed Sisters

A documentary about Palestinian women in very fast cars

Organized auto racing only became a thing in the West Bank in 2005, with the formation of the Palestinian Motor Sports and Motorcycle Federation, but as demonstrated in Amber Fares’s documentary Speed Sisters, but that’s still enough time for men to be threatened by the presence of women. Founded in 2010, the Speed Sisters are Palestine’s first all-female driving team. They’re comprised of captain Maysoon, who admits to modulating her authority to compensate for fragile male egos; Noor, an athlete who’s happiest when she’s behind the wheel; Mona, who joined the Federation in 2006 and is in it for the kicks; Marah, whose relationship with her endlessly supportive father is the secret heart of the picture; and the Mexican-born Betty, a proud femme who isn’t afraid to use her bombshell qualities to her advantage. Speed Sisters is as much about sexism in a Palestinian institution that arguably hasn’t existed long enough to develop institutionalized sexism as it is about life under the occupation. (Not everyone can get past all the Israeli checkpoints, and men with guns often interrupt their training.) Director Fares is also kind enough to show a given person’s name via subtitle when they haven’t appeared onscreen for a while, a practice more documentaries following multiple subjects and narratives would do well to adopt.

Speed Sisters
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.

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