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‘The Pinkies Are Back’ – Review

‘The Pinkies Are Back’ – Review

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In an inspiring documentary of female friendship and competitive dragon boat racing, director Lisa Burd tells the true story of the Pink Dragons Dragon Boat Racing team in The Pinkies Are Back, and their training to take on the new season and prove themselves as a brand new team. And if you’re seeking a film that will fill you with joy and touch your heart then you’ve come to the right place.

After doing well at the national championships, the Pink Dragons are back to have a crack at the Auckland regionals in this feature-length documentary. Although the all-woman dragon boating team has a few veterans, many have never so much as touched a paddle. The Pink Dragons team is made up of breast cancer survivors, who use the sport to exercise and find a feeling of community after their recovery. Director Lisa Burd (documentary Let’s Talk About Sex) follows the team as they head into training, and try to make their mark in the Auckland dragon boating scene.

Director Lisa Burd brings a strong sense of heart, friendship and real classic Kiwi slice of life energy to The Pinkies Are Back, her tribute to an amazing group of woman who take to the water to compete in the high stakes, and often exhilarating world of competitive dragon boat racing. What’s even more extraordinary is that all of the women featured in this documentary are breast cancer survivors who have overcome breast cancer, or who are still battling through it. Combining a real-life documentary focus with that of high-intense sports drama, Burd showcases a crew of committed underdogs who are determined to give it their best and return to top form and as they train, compete and grow together they get ever closer to their goal of rising back to the top.

With a unique naturalness behind-the-cameras, Burd is able to peer inside the lives of each of these ladies and we get to know the whole crew with members who include team captain Annemarie Stevens, a committed Dragon Boat racer, resident “Camp Mother” Annabelle Waetford and the baby of the group, Liz Horne, who is the youngest member. Each of these women has their own unique lives and stories and Burd takes us into their lives and showcases just what dragon boating means to them as a competitive pursuit, along with their own battles in having overcome breast cancer.

One thing that audiences should be prepared for with The Pinkies Are Back is just how competitive these women get. Dragon boating competitions don’t let up for a second, and the Pink Dragons competitors, who also happen to be fellow breast cancer survivors, are utterly ruthless in their pursuit of excellence on the water. As the underdog team, they have a long way to go in order to win out, and there are plenty of nerve-racking moments on the water that will make you sit up and take notice. But combined with this competitive drive is a dose of classic everyday-Kiwi humour that audiences will warm to, and this combination keeps The Pinkies Are Back lively and engaging minute by minute.

The Pinkies Are Back is destined to be a classic Kiwi documentary and all who see it will be certain to leave with a smile on their face and a groove to their step.