We were not ready to be hit with such slow sentimentality when we saw Cassandro. While it is a lesson on why it is so important to be authentic to yourself and always fight for what you want, it also brings up the price of that choice, especially when made for others more than ourselves. Let us see how that goes for Cassandro through the recap of this film. A note before we start: we will call him Saul when he is not in the ring and Cassandro when he is in it.
Why Does Cassandro Want To Become An Exotico?
An exotico is someone who fights in the ring while wearing a drag costume. They are typically not expected to win and are only there for a performance of sorts, meant to lose to their opponent after their little show. Saul never saw himself as an exotico. He wanted to be a wrestler, but it was becoming evident that he wouldn’t be able to break into the guys’ club because of his sexuality.
Saul had lived a tough life. His mother ran a laundry, and Saul was born from her affair with a married man. Saul believed that Yocasta must have been in love with his father since their affair continued for many years. But when Saul came out when he was fifteen years old, his father cut all ties with them due to his religious beliefs. Yocasta knew about Saul before his father did, and she did not want him to come out to him. But Saul had not listened, and that had turned away his father from their family. We believe that Saul really missed having a father figure in his life. He must have had a loving relationship with him being there for TV nights, introducing his son to Lucha Libre, and just being a nice parent overall who tried his best to provide for Yocasta and Saul. Perhaps that is why Yocasta wanted to be satisfied with that, as it was more than she could have expected. She did not set high standards for herself, but we suppose that she did not have many options in life.
She and Saul are best friends, but there are hints that she blames him for his father’s leaving. She stands by her son and is his strongest ally, but there seems to be a sliver of resentment there. Maybe that is why Saul is so hell-bent on being successful for his mother and being able to take care of her once again. It could be just because she is the closest person to him who has gone through a lot to take care of him, or it could be the unwarranted guilt, or perhaps a careful mixture of both, but the desire to do right by her is the driving force behind Saul’s ambitions.
How Does Cassandro Start Working As An Exotico?
Initially, Saul is dead set on being an exotico. He is not sure if he wants to exaggerate the stereotypes surrounding his sexuality. It is a different matter that he has yet to realize that people will talk no matter what, and he just needs to do what he wants to. As he starts training under a new coach, Sabrina, Saul seriously considers what he might do as an exotico. On his first match as El Topo, the betting agent refused to even consider that he would win.
Saul, as Cassandro goes into the ring, with the intention of losing, but something takes over him as he starts fighting. Saul never lacked for showmanship in his life, and as he displayed it in full force, the crowd started cheering for him. And that is how he makes the tide turn in his favor. He gets the better of his opponent, but looking at the crowd cheering for him, the agent doubles the rate of the wrestler if he loses to Cassandro. It is the crowd sentiment that gives Cassandro his first win, along with his stupendous confidence in himself. Now that he has demonstrated the potential he has, people are interested. A man named Lorenzo is ready to manage Cassandro, and he is very happy with that.
Meanwhile, Cassandro’s love life is in shambles as the man he is with, Gerardo, is married and has children. Cassandro wants more from him, but he is unable to give it. It is also evident that he would never come out of the closet, but Saul still holds out hope. Saul does say that he loves the side of himself that is Cassandro more than the part that is just Saul, since Cassandro is the manifestation of what Saul actually wants to be like. But Gerardo is only concerned with staying in the neat little boxes assigned by society, to whatever extent is needed.
Does Cassandro Win Against The Son Of Santo?
Saul’s mother was happy for her son, but she was also worried. She had seen the homophobia of the world as closely as Saul had, and she was scared that the thrill of the accolades might not be enough to protect him from the hate that was simmering underneath. She mostly keeps her opinions to herself, but Saul is aware of what she is thinking. When Yocasta passes away in her sleep, Saul is left devastated. He desperately tries to move on and takes up the next work that comes his way, even though he is not mentally prepared for it.
Saul has to fight the Son of Santo in New Mexico, and this is a match with a lot riding on it. His agent tells him to focus on the match and not party too much, but that is exactly what he ends up doing. But what is changing is that Saul has stopped settling for less. When someone in the bar tries to undermine him, Saul does not have it, and he ditches him immediately. The next day, he shows up for the match in the way he wants to, with his authentic drag costume that he had refrained from wearing the whole time.
While fighting with Santo, Cassandro is clearly distracted. There are times he loses, and then there are times when he fails to tap out in time because his attention is elsewhere as the grief takes over him. The crowd boos for him as much as it cheers for him. After a particularly brutal round, Cassandro does what he does best, and he gets to the highest point in the stadium, jumps off of it, and lets the crowd guide him back to the ring. He has gained the love of the crowd, and Cassandro gets what he has always wanted. He has lost the match, but he is a good sportsman.
During Cassandro‘s ending, a year has passed. Saul has broken up with Gerardo and moved on to achieve great success in his life. He lost a lot because of his identity, but he has become an inspiration for others to live life on their own terms. Saul meets his father at the end of the film, and upon finding out that his success still couldn’t let his father accept his son, Saul decides to let go of whatever expectations he had from him. As the last frame closes, we see that Cassandro is still fighting, as is his ever-funny self.
We were not expecting this film to be so subtle in its profundity. At its core, Cassandro was about a child dealing with the loss of a parent and how he has to learn to separate his ambitions from his family. While it is a tad bit slow, we would still recommend it for those slightly melancholic days when one is in the mood to cry a little.