Boxing Gym

20 Mar

Review: Boxing Gym

Frederick Wiseman serves up blood, sweat, and hypnotic cadences

By TOM MEEK  |  November 11, 2010

Whatever his subject matter, documentarian Frederick Wiseman has always been concerned with blood and sweat. La Danse, his 2009 look at the grueling rehearsal routine at the Paris Opera Ballet, is emblematic. Boxing Gym moves in a similar direction as he sets up his camera in a dingy Austin establishment. Owner Richard Lord, a former boxer with a Texas drawl and a rattail, treats all his patrons (pros and amateurs who span sex, age, race, and socio-economic strata) with equal care and respect. And despite the violent nature of the sport, Lord’s dogma of rhythm, footwork, and conditioning is delivered in a calm, avuncular tenor. Wiseman records the rituals of repetition (speed bag and footwork) in poetic long shots that often have two pugilists side by side, each unaware of the other. The cadence is both primal and hypnotic.

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