Watch full documentary online: iTunes Preview
Love is a battlefield – Cutie and the Boxer (2013) (nominated for 2014 Best Documentary Oscar) is a beautiful portrayal of a Japanese couple, Ushio and Noriko. Both are artists who have lived in New York together since the 1970’s. Each have their own way of expressing themselves through their art – which is what originally brought them together. But Noriko has always lived in the shadow of her more renowned husband. Forty years later, Noriko is tired of following her husband and feeling inferior to him. She wants to find her own creative identity and make a name for herself.
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Why this doc is worth watching: Identifiable for all of us who are involved in the eternal, competitive nature that marks us as human, as we seek to establish our unique, individual voice. The skillful manipulations of the film-maker create an empathetic atmosphere for an understanding of ‘the subservient female condition’ – as played out through a woman from a traditional, female-subjugated society – but who ultimately finds her ‘release’ from male domination through public recognition of a uniquely personal creative vision.
Memorable quote: Noriko’s explanation of her and her husband’s relationship – “We are like two flowers in one pot. It’s difficult. Sometimes we don’t get enough nutrients for both of us. But when everything goes well, we become two beautiful flowers”. (Clip).
LOL moment: Noriko sees husband Ushio’s “Octopus” painting for the first time and says “I don’t think it’s good”.
Feel-good moment: Noriko showcases her ‘Cutie’ autobiographical, alter-ego artwork at a joint exhibition with Ushio in New York and gets a very positive response. This is a liberating, ‘break-out’ moment for her as it reveals she is no longer in her husband’s shadow as both a companion and an artist.
Beautiful cinematography: A multi-colourful moment as Noriko and Ushio box each other with mitts – and so much paint! Such a visually outstanding scene which also likely provided the couple some release from the tensions of competitiveness and resentment.
Watch Cutie and the Boxer online: