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Boxing Gym

Directed by Frederick Wiseman.
US, 2010, digital video, color, 91 min.
Copy source: Zipporah Films

The remarkably diverse clientele of men, women, children and families—sometimes with animals or babies in tow—exercise their physical, mental and spiritual muscles at Lord’s Gym in Austin, Texas. Former professional boxer Richard Lord oversees his domain with passion and compassion, adapting regimens to the wide range of individual needs and doling out a little fatherly advice on the side. Somewhat off the beaten path with an old-fashioned air, the tight space of the gym unfolds under Wiseman’s keen eye into an oasis taking many shapes, deepening in complexity as the film progresses. Eventually, the various sonic rhythms of the place—punching, bouncing, thumping and beeping—seem to symphonize the choreographic patterns of the preparation and the act. Among the film’s many revelations is fighting as camaraderie and connection—with even the experience of being beaten described by one young patron as exhilarating.

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2018 Norton Lectures in Cinema:
Frederick Wiseman

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