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Boxing Gym -- Film Review

The Bottom Line

Dull glimpse of people in a Texas gym wanting to learn how to box.

Venue

Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight)

Director

Frederick Wiseman

CANNES -- Iconic documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman applies the same technique to pugilism in "Boxing Gym" as he did to ballet in "La Danse" last year but with considerably less impact.

Wiseman likes to set down his camera in a busy environment and capture what goes on, then edit the results into a coherent whole. But whereas the dancers seemed bent on artistic goals, there's no getting away from the fact that while some may call boxing the sweet science, it still comes down to punching someone in the face.

Fans of the director will be keen to see what he has reaped from spending time in a gym for fighters in Austin, Texas, and some fight fans might be interested, but general audiences will most likely be bored.

Men, women, teenagers and children flock to trainer Richard Lord's gymnasium with as many different motivations as there are fisticuffs. Wiseman lets the would-be boxers tell their stories, from those who want to sweat off aggression to ones desperate for some self-confidence to those who see it as some kind of art form.

The film captures the energy, the stresses and the tension of people striking punching bags and each other but without narration, it all feels a bit random and uninteresting.

Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight)
Sales: Zipporah Films
Production companies: Zipporah Films, Tuckman Media
Director, editor: Frederick Wiseman
Director of photography: John Davey
No rating, running time 91 minutes