Cutie and the Boxer (2013) by Zachary Heinzerling
Recently released on Netflix (and after me putting off seeing it for so long), this film explores the 40-year marriage and artistic impacts of Ushio & Noriko Shinohara in NYC since the 70’s.
While ‘the Boxer’, Ushio was the spotlight artist since his early work in Japan and continuing on in NYC, I really like how Noriko, ‘Cutie’, and her art steal the show in the film. Their devotion to art is what brought them together, and it is a bittersweet relationship that forms out of their identities as ‘opposite’ artists, according to Noriko, together.
Noriko’s art centers on her ‘Cutie’ character & Bullie, which is implied to be based on her & Ushio’s relationship. Some parts of their life story are told with an animated version of Noriko’s art works, which I like because it allows for the rough chapters of their marriage to be told in a more gentler, light-hearted way. And it is her way of telling the story.
It is a showcase of Noriko and her stepping out in the art world, regaining her independence as artist while remaining at his side in their relationship.
I also loved the original soundtrack; it’s a sort of jazz version of traditional-sounding Japanese music…?
Despite how their relationship is presented as a bitter struggle and Noriko admitting to her regrets and resentment, it is one of my favorite love stories. The ending is so, so sweet to me.
I realized I hadn’t posted on these 2 films yet, and while I’ve only seen 1 of them yet, I still wanted to put them out there in case you haven’t heard of them yet. They were both first released in 2011, but are now recently making their rounds in U.S. theaters, since they are both FOREIGN FILMS.
The Kid with a Bike (Le Gamin au Velo)-dir. by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
This is the one I saw about a month ago. Explores topics like violence/the justification of violence, parenthood/mentorship, and committed love and friendship.The film takes you into the world of the main character, the very frenzied, stubborn, and lonely boy who refuses to part with his bike on his quest to find his father, or just some sort of family and love.
The camera puts you in the boy’s perspective, with lots of tracking shots that involve quick movements and turns, much like the speed and determinedness of the boy. The color red stays with the boy and, through this loud color, makes him stand out from the rest of the characters and the cityscape in which he roams…this style caught my eye the most, I really liked the cinematography.
It’s quite heartwarming, actually. If you’re not willing to see it in theaters, its definitely worth the wait for Netflix (if they actually decide to keep feature films on instant queue *annoyed face*).
This next one I have not yet seen, but I hope I can watch it online soon so I can satisfy my curiosity! I kept hearing about it in film mags and blogs, and it actually looks really interesting! …despite what my friends said. :p
Jiro Dreams of Sushi -dir. by David Gelb (Japan)
Documentary-ish, this film looks at 85-year-old Jiro Ono and his life as a great sushi chef in a Tokyo subway station. His 10-seat, hole-in-the-wall restaurant is where he…dreams of sushi, and creates masterpieces that have caused him to receive 3 Michelin stars, one of the first sushi-only business to have done so.
I haven’t seen it, but I encourage you to, if you can! If you love sushi and/or getting that insider-view on a fascinating man’s life, then go see this! And tell me what you thought. 🙂
Here’s the trailer: