• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Boxing Gym

Boxing Gym

Directed by Frederick Wiseman. (2010, NR, 91 min.)

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Nov. 12, 2010

Doc-maker laureate Frederick Wiseman's latest, filmed locally at Lord's Gym, is not so far removed from his last, La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet: Both films fixate on the process – the sweat, the endless reps – rather than the final product, be it opening night or a bout in the ring. In signature Wiseman fashion, Boxing Gym forgoes any audience hand-holding – no IDs, no talking heads – and simply immerses the viewer in the all-are-welcome gym run by the compact and sage Richard Lord. It's a casually bilingual place where tattooed fighters train alongside new moms and young kids – there are even a couple of babies in bassinets plopped ringside: It's a mix that I suspect will play as more of a novelty outside of Austin. Wiseman's film moves languidly, with no delineation between days (or, for that matter, between day and night) in its commentary-free cataloging of intimacies and incidentals, as when a mother wraps her son's hands in tape or a Mohawked veteran helpfully advises a newbie. Really, one is struck by how benign a house of pugilism it turns out to be. Conversations are spare and not always of much interest; boxers' eyes catch the camera often enough to suggest they were conscious of its presence, which in turn makes the viewer conscious, eroding some of the film's cozy, you-are-there effect. Far more engrossing are the long, dialogue-free stretches that fix on, say, bobbing feet or curled fists on a speed bag. The soundscape, too, is endlessly fascinating, a layer cake of squeaks, grunts, gasps, and rattling chains that, combined, catches a rhythm that sounds an awful lot like song. (Wiseman will be in attendance for the AFS Documentary Tour screening of Boxing Gym at 7pm on Sunday. See "A History of Violence" for an interview. At 4pm, Wiseman will also be present for a screening of his 1967 film, Titicut Follies.)

READ MORE
More Boxing Gym
A History of Violence
A History of Violence
AFS Documentary Tour: 'Boxing Gym'

Anne S. Lewis, Nov. 12, 2010

More Frederick Wiseman
Looking at People Looking at Art
Looking at People Looking at Art
Frederick Wiseman’s extraordinary National Gallery screens Sunday

Kimberley Jones, Jan. 9, 2015

More Frederick Wiseman Films
Crazy Horse
Paris' famed erotic showcase at the Crazy Horse saloon is profiled in this Frederick Wiseman documentary.

Marc Savlov, March 2, 2012

La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet
A lovely, enthralling examination of the Paris Opera Ballet from Frederick Wiseman.

Kimberley Jones, Jan. 29, 2010

More by Kimberley Jones
The Edge of Seventeen
Teen dramedy gets the growing pains right

Nov. 18, 2016

SXSW Conference Announces New Panels
SXSW Conference Announces New Panels
Muslim-American journalist Noor Tagouri joins lineup

Nov. 15, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Boxing Gym, Frederick Wiseman

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Updates for SXSW 2017

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)