Cutie And The Boxer
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Nothing Short of Breathtaking --Drew Taylor, The Playlist/Indiewire
Powerful and Beautiful --A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Top Customer Reviews
Couple of comments: this is a revealing and remarkable look at the marriage of these artists, now 4 decades into it. Both arrived in New York in the early 70s, and much to its credit, the documentary has archive footage from those early days, and even from the 1960s when Ushio was making a name for himself in his native Japan. Equally revealing is the art work from Noriko, creating the "Cutie" and Bullie" characters which are a stand-in for herself and Ushio, and while you might cringe at her art-husband being named "Bullie", it is also clear these two care very much for each other. The movie does a great job balancing the attention between the two, even though Ushio is surely the more overbearing and attention-grabbing one.Read more ›
But ultimately one is fascinated by the story of Noriko, whose presence begins to dominate the film, which reveals her perspective on their lives, and her artistic aspirations. This movie is a documentary with a concurrent plot device-- an upcoming exhibition on which Ushio is pinning his hopes for a career renewal. This is the context for watching him paint and sculpt and talk on the phone with exhibitors and potential buyers. We get to see moments both intimate and mundane in their every-day lives, as well as some historic flashbacks through still images and Noriko's paintings. But this film is driven by the emotional legacy of the Shinohara's marriage, and our curiosity about just how much these two sacrificed to live the lives of NYC struggling artists.
It soon becomes painfully clear that the characters in Noriko's paintings, Cutie and Bullie, are barely disguised versions of Noriko and Ushio. The cartoonish renderings that chronicle their early lives are devastating.Read more ›
First, this is a documentary about artists, but the film seems more interested in their life than in their art. The film may show you how Ushio creates a boxing painting or how the couple receives a visit from a Guggenheim curator, but you are not going to learn much about their art in the context of modern art history.
For “Cutie and the Boxer” is primarily a love story, and a very intriguing one. The film is a fascinating portrait of a long-married couple who have seen a lot, and as such it is touching and thought-provoking.
To focus the relationship between the couple, “Cutie and the Boxer” ignores the career of Ushio (called affectionately “Gyu-chan” by Noriko or "Cutie"), who was one of the most visible faces in Japan's avant-garde art movements in the early 1960s. Some aspects of their life including the presence of their son are only briefly touched upon but not explored.
So, we are allowed to see just part of the artists’ life, which must have been much more eventful than the film shows. Still, “Cutie and the Boxer” manages to give you a glimpse of what a life as (and with) an artist can be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun look into the world of a struggling artistic couple. An honest glimpse into human emotion, the struggle for creativity, income and validation.Published 22 days ago by modernarteest
Great documentary about two artists, their life in NY, their work, their relationship, family that they have built, and their struggles. What a life! Poor kid. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lucy
This is a great documentary with turns and lessons throughout the story line.Published 1 month ago by Christina Suarez
What a terrifically made film. Don't watch the trailer, just watch the movie.Published 2 months ago by Dee Lampier
I first watched this film on PBS (it was "POV" I think) and got hooked. It's a strange but very romantic story of this couple. Read morePublished 3 months ago by H. Kim