SXSW Film Reviews

Raging Dove

D: Duki Dror.

Documentary Feature Competition, U.S. Premiere

A man who wants to use fighting to bring peace -- that's the paradox of Johar Abu Lashin, an Israeli Arab who becomes a boxing champ in the U.S. and wants to leverage that prestige into a string of matches in his homeland that he hopes will bring warring factions together. Dror's documentary delivers some thrilling footage of Johar boxing -- he's swift and relentless, a tenacious fighter -- but it's really about the champ's fight outside the ring: dealing with politicians, winning Palestinian Authority support, using his own cash to keep the dream alive. Johar punches away, but his opponents in the political ring get to fight dirty -- making promises they won't keep, delaying decisions, bleeding him dry -- so this is one boxing movie that doesn't end with a Rocky-style victory. Still, Dror's portrait of Johar makes clear that he isn't a quitter. You can't count this man out of the fight. (3/16, Hideout, 2:15pm)

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