Firstly, apologies for the delay in this third instalment. I had problems with my HBO Go, which so it turns out was the only way to catch at least one of these films.
Cutie and the Boxer
Synopsis: Documenting the lifelong partnership between Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, Japanese artists living in New York as they struggle with selling art pieces to galleries and private collectors, their son, and competitiveness.
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Festivals: Brisbane, Calgary Underground, Full Frame, Houston Cinema Arts, Karlovy Vary, London, Sarasota, Seattle, Stockholm, Sundance, Sydney, Toronto, Tribeca, True/False, Vancouver
Awards: Emerging Artist Award (Full Frame), Grierson Award – Special Mention (London), Documentary Directing (Sundance), Documentary Audience Award 2nd Place (Tribeca), Outstanding Debut/Outstanding Graphics and Animation/Outstanding Original Score (Cinema Eye)
Box Office: $170,449 (max. 12 screens), on iTunes and DVD now
Review: It’s hard not to be won over by the protagonists of Cutie and the Boxer. Naturally, Cutie is the more interesting of the pair given her lifelong position in the shadow of her husband and there are pangs of sadness to be found in the rollcall of gallery figures and artists praising and wanting to look at his work and not her own. Debut director Zachary Heinzerling noticed this and focuses the pair’s climactic exhibit around her and the praise she receives. Heinzerling is a talented man and definitely has a future in documentary filmmaking that is both topically interesting and visually splendid.
Oscar? A sneaker possibility if voters respond to the personalities of the Shinoharas and the themes of artistic integrity. Otherwise I think its more populist leanings may hurt it when placed alongside such emotionally involving pictures like The Act of Killing and The Crash Reel.