“If you follow me…If you do exactly as I say…No questions asked…If you take my thoughts…and you make them your own…I’ll show you the way. I’ll give you what you crave. I’ll transform you. I’ll rename you. I’ll teach you power over fear. I’ll take you places you never imagine. But if you choose to follow me, I’m gonna need something from you.”

Prior to his career as a film director, Matthew T. Burns was a “death-match” professional wrestler, performing under the name Nick Mondo. If you are a person like me who don’t know much about the dark side of wrestling world, “The Trade” can be your “Introduction to Hardcore Wrestling 101”. But you also need to understand, this movie is so much more than that. This is not just a life story of Matthew T. Burns. It tears apart the scars, the pulp and the blood of “Sick” Nick Mondo and parades it to you.

If you type in “Nick Mondo” in your Google search, you’ll see all these online underground wrestling forums talking about a “moron” who had matches in a death cage, jumped into a pile of wooden scaffold and back somersaulted out of the ring. He was a CZW wrestler. For people who do not know what CZW is, its full name is “Combat Zone Wrestling”. It is a series of wrestling tours which made “Ultraviolence” as their campaign slogan and allow Ladders, folding chairs, panes of glass as setting and tools. Their “Cage of Death” was exactly what made “Sick” Mondo underground famous.

What really hooked me is that, looking like a blood-thirsting psychopath with self-destructive analgesia in those low quality videos from 10 years ago, he now sits calmly in a suit in front of his own video camera and tells us about his past life.

To me, this abrupt transformation appeals me even more than the blood-oozing Tarantino-look-alike scenes. I felt this sudden strong eager to know this person after seeing the trailer. This is something that makes me want to sit opposite him, look at him right into his eyes, and ask him questions like “Who you really are?”, “Why did you do it?” or “Have you ever regretted it?” However I’m almost certain that I will find answers to all those questions not in those wrestling forums, not in his Wikipedia, not even in himself, but in this movie.

See the TRAILER:

Lift-Off Film Festival Global Network Selects The Trade by Matthew T. Burns to be part of their prestigious line up of true independent cinema at this year’s Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival 2017 – taking place at Uplink Factory, in Shibuya, Tokyo.

The Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival will host the Asian premiere of The Trade. on Tuesday, May 9 from 8:15 p.m. at:

Uplink – 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho, 37−18, トツネビル2F
Click here to grab your tickets!

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