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Cutie And The Boxer

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy-Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature! In New York City in 1969, 19-year-old art student Noriko fell in love with 41-year-old avant-garde artist Ushio Shinohara and put her career on hold to marry and support this rising star of the Manhattan art world. After 40 years, their roles shifted. Now 80 and still struggling, Ushio is consumed with reinforcing his legacy via his “boxing” paintings, while Noriko is now finding her own creative voice through a series of drawings entitled “Cutie And Bullie” that depict their chaotic relationship and her desire to escape her husband's shadow and be respected as an artist in her own right. Featuring original artwork by Noriko and Ushio Shinohara, CUTIE AND THE BOXER is a powerful and poignant documentary about creativity, sacrifice, and a love that is its own unique work of art.

Review

A finely textured and beautifully told story. --James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Nothing Short of Breathtaking --Drew Taylor, The Playlist/Indiewire

Powerful and Beautiful --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Product Details

  • Directors: Zachary Heinzerling
  • Producers: Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Patrick Burns
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GDQ0QWC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,832 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video
"Cutie and the Boxer" (2013 release; 82 min.) is a documentary that examines the lives and times of avant-garde artists Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Ushio is famed for his boxing paintings (he shadow-boxes and then smashes the paint onto the screen), and Noriko gains notoriety for creating the "Cutie" animation character. As the movie opens, we see the now elderly couple living in their New York apartment and art studio, celebrating Ushio's 80th birthday. (Much later in the movie we learn that when these two met, he was 41 and she was 19). Their financial situation is not good, and the couple is very eager to sell some art their art work. They are in touch with several New York art galleries. To tell you more of the "plot", such as there is, would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

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.
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By BFF on January 29, 2014
Format: Amazon Video
The documentary covers a long period of time and really gives the audience a feel for how the relationship began and how it moved and changed through time. The struggle for artists is quite real and often times it is romanticized - people think it is this existential existence that involves lounging around a loft drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and occasionally staring at a canvas. This documentary shows how art and love drive two people forward through their lives and how they aren't exactly balanced. The relationship begins with art and moves in and out of love, criticism, struggles with alcohol and money, everything. I am not an easy crier and this one drew out very meaningful tears. Strongly recommended for anyone who is interested in art or turbulent relationships.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Ushio Shinohara is a wiry avant garde artist, now something like 80 years old, who made his fame decades ago with "boxing painting" and cardboard sculptures. His partner Noriko Shinohara apparently came directly from Japan as a young woman, and soon after meeting Ushio, was married and expecting a child. 40 years later, Ushio is still reckless and hyperkinetic. He boxes out a painting in 2 minutes. That's how long it takes, every time. He wolfs down his meal in about the same time, while gushing about how delicious it tastes. To get some money to pay the rent and buy supplies, he decides to go to Japan to sell some of his work: he haphazardly stuffs some of his smaller sculptures into a very large suitcase, and goes banging down the stairs dressed like a beggar, heading to the airport.

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.
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Format: DVD
“Cutie and the Boxer” is a documentary about the life of an 80-year-old Japanese Ushio Shinohara, a New York-based artist who has created “boxing painting,” and his wife Noriko, herself an artist (whose drawing is used to recount how they met each other in America about 40 years ago). Directed by first-timer Zachary Heinzerling, “Cutie and the Boxer” captures the complicated nature of being an artist, though some part of the film can be misleading.

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.
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