Beatrice Documentary Review
Genre: Sports Documentary/Medical
Year Released: 2017

Distributor: Fabrica
Origin: Venezuela/Italy

Running Time: 9 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG

Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: No Arms No Legs No Worries, Murderball, State of Play: Broken, The Crash Reel

-Beatrice is available for streaming on Vimeo.

Fun Facts:
-Beatrice was a Vimeo Staff Pick video for 2017.

-The subject of this short documentary, Beatrice Vio is a two-time Paralympic fencing champion. At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janiero, she won the bronze medal in the team foil division, but won gold in the foil B category.

Vimeo is one of my favorite sites. I regularly use it to host videos that I’ve worked on, but one thing I have tried to do more often is to watch the videos from other content creators. I’ve reviewed some works that were featured on Vimeo such as ‘Mid the Steep Sky’s Commotion and Presence: 5 Haikus for 5 Boros, but I needed to expand my horizons. I decided to check out the most recent Vimeo Staff Picks that were featured on the site.

I’m so glad I did so when I discovered this short documentary.

Beatrice is about a twenty-year old fencer from Venice named Beatrice Maria “Bebe” Vio. She’s won several awards for her athletic prowess, but she’s quite different from other fencers though. Beatrice is a multiple amputee wheelchair fencer and she’s the only fencer in the planet who doesn’t have hands. She lost her limbs when she was younger do to a severe case of meningitis as the doctors amputated her arms from below her elbows and her legs from the shins downward. Beatrice uses prosthetic hands and legs whenever she’s not in a wheelchair to move around and her fencing style involves her working her elbow to strike with an attached sword. She is the one who narrates about her experiences as a wheelchair fencer who managed to reach stratospheric heights in this sport.

This was a very unique documentary in itself. I hate to sound dumb, but I had never heard or seen wheelchair fencing ever in my life. Sure, I know there’s wheelchair basketball and wheelchair track events, but this was completely new to me. The whole documentary is from Beatrice Vio’s perspective as she narrates everything. This was a great touch since someone like her should be the main person talking about what it’s like to be a multiple amputee who’s into the art of fencing. There are scenes of her fighting against other opponents as she represents her home country of Italy, but there are other parts where she’s swimming without her prosthetic limbs. I will admit I was reminded of the famous Australian speaker Nick Vujicic who has a similar condition despite being born without limbs, but this was different though. It was truly inspiring seeing her survive and thrive in the world of wheelchair fencing while also being grateful for her team, doctors, and especially her family for supporting her.

The production quality was certainly jaw-dropping. Everything was so crisp and well-colored in Beatrice. The famous screenshot of that extreme close-up of Beatrice’s face showing the elaborate lattice in her fencing mask was quietly intense and well-shot. Seriously, someone needs to hire director Lorena Alvarado in their film projects. She did a fantastic job capturing the life of this fencer in various aspects in her daily life, her doctor visits and with her taking the foil to win some gold. The cinematography was brilliant and really accentuates the story of this swordswoman.

Beatrice was wonderful to watch, but I did have a few issues with it. The first one to me involved the subtitles. Unless you’re fluent in Italian, you will have some trouble reading the bright yellow subtitles in some scenes because they really get drowned out in the brighter scenes or the parts involving white rooms. I also would’ve loved to have seen more aspects of Beatrice’s life. You could show more training regiments or have an entire match with her commentary instead of just highlights here and there. I also wanted to know more of what got her into fencing to begin with. I think some extra minutes could’ve really rounded out the Beatrice documentary so much more. One can even make an argument that this could be roughly the length of a TV episode if there was enough content. Maybe not like a full-length movie, but something close to the running time of Extremis or Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti, possibly.

Besides those minor issues, Beatrice will definitely inspire you as a viewer. At only nine minutes, this is a fantastic documentary to watch and be amazed by the tenacity of this Italian fencer. The story in itself is quite remarkable and is a huge triumph in itself. The visuals are simply gorgeous and are on par with several Hollywood productions. I do admit that the subtitles should’ve had a different color or at least contain some blackened outlines to be more visible though. This was a great showing of the wheelchair fencing scene as it was entirely new and unique to me.

Keep on fighting the good fight, Beatrice Vio.

Adjustable Point System: 

Add 1 point if you like inspirational documentaries
Subtract 2-3 points if you want your sports documentaries to feature more sports action

-Wonderful cinematography
-Very powerful testimony from Beatrice Vio
-Humanizing Beatrice instead of just making her to be just her disabilities

-Short running time
-Mediocre subtitle coloring
-Lack of background information on Beatrice’s desire for fencing

Final Score: 9/10 points

Content Warning: Beatrice is a safe documentary, but some of the content isn’t for everyone. Beatrice Vio is a multiple amputee with some scars all over her body, so that can turn off some people when they see her, but shame on them if they judge her by her lack of limbs. There’s some violence, but it’s limited to the fencing scenes.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Beatrice is property of Lorena Alvarado and Fabrica. The Beatrice image is from Vimeo and is property of Lorena Alvarado.


  1. TIL of wheelchair fencing. Thank you.
    Also, do you read subs frequently? Some subs are gawd awful, I admit, but I have learned to not let them bother me, lol. I once watched a german movie with a chinese sub lay over the english. it was an experience. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s how I felt when I first stumbled on this documentary on Vimeo. Thanks.

      I do read subs quite often. I’ve covered anime and several foreign films in different languages, so I’m used to it. Some subs bother me if there’s typos, underselling a character’s dialogue, or if the coloration isn’t updated to contrast against the scenery. That must have been fun watching all of that with the German movie. Hahaha! Feel free to check out Beatrice. It’s free to stream on Vimeo and it’s only 9 minutes. Also, thanks for looking at my Wilby Wonderful review. I also have a review today with The Place Promised In Our Early Days which is Makoto Shinkai’s (Your Name, 5 Centimeters Per Second, The Garden Of Words) first feature length film.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some subs can really ruin a movie, but I have grown to get used to them. Plus, they rarely happen now. and lol, i was mostly captivated by the german language, so it worked out well for me.
        and sure, I’ll check the others out

        Liked by 1 person

      • No disagreement here. I’ve seen some terrible subs whether they were fansubs or official DVDs. That was cool. Which German movie did you watch? Sure thing. Let me know when you check out the other new review or some other posts whenever you can.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see. I was just curious. The only German movie I can think of with overt religious references at the top of my head would be Stations of the Cross even though said references are more of a cautionary tale.


  2. I agree, despite the short length, Beatrice was an inspiring documentary on perservereance and the troubles of living with heavy disabilities. It’s pleasing to know her efforts as a para-athelete have definitely not fallen short. Hope she keeps pushing on!

    Also, the cinematography was phenomenal! I loved how this was organized. It’s a shame it was only the short length of 9 minutes. I would’ve gladly watched more. I personally didn’t have a problem with the bright yellow subs. If anything, I’m happy they were a bright color. I tend to barely noticed darker subs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome! I’m happy you checked out the review and the documentary. It was so inspiring and the concept of fencing in the Paralympics was unknown until I stumbled across this documentary. I certainly hope so, too. The director Lorena Alvarado covered another Italian para-athlete, but in the swimming field named Francesco which I also reviewed.

      I know, right? Alvarado’s camera work is so on point and I’ve seen mainstream documentaries that don’t look as good as this from a cinematography and aesthetic standpoint. The Beatrice doc could’ve been much longer and could have as big if not bigger of an effect. I actually showed this review to Alvarado and she thanked me for the positive feedback. I noticed her subtitle work definitely improved after this.

      Seriously, thank you so much for reading my thoughts on this gem of a short doc!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s no problem! Im glad I decided to give Beatrice the watch! It was definitely worth the time. I should check out more of Alvarado’s works, she’s stunning! Francesco sounds like another I’d totally dig.

        Also, you’re not alone. I too had no idea fencing in the Paralympics existed! Not only was it nice learning of Beatrice’s experiences, I also found joy in learning the mechanisms of para-fencing too.

        I’m glad Alvarado enjoyed your feedback!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure thing! This is exhilarating whenever someone tells me that they watch something I’ve reviewed. You have no idea how much this means to me. Alvarado is certainly a top-tier director with her documentaries. Her work is also my first exposure to Venezuelan cinema as well (okay, Beatrice and Francesco are also Italian co-productions, but this still counts!). Francesco is another gem from Alvarado and just as inspiring.

        Thank you. This is new for the people I know who got exposed to this documentary since I’ve shared it with some of my friends and co-workers. It was an amazing learning experience for me.

        It truly was great. I sometimes send my reviews to different directors or people who have been in films I’ve reviewed. Some other examples I can think of involve the directors of the Scottish short film Fine, the director of A Dream Dressed in Black and the pro wrestler Eddie Dennis after reviewing his documentary.

        Liked by 1 person

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