Cutie and the Boxer

The Japanese Neo-Dadaist Makes a Slow-Mo Splash

A paean to eternal themes of love, sacrifice and the enduring pull of the creative process, Zachary Heinzerling makes his filmmaking debut with Cutie and the Boxer, a meditative observation of painter and boxer Ushio Shinohara. This exclusive sequence, shot on a Phantom camera, shows Ushiro pummeling the glass ‘canvas’ with affecting vigor. The former enfant terrible moved to New York from his native Japan in 1969 in search of international recognition that has never quite materialized. In the Sundance-fêted documentary, Heinzerling captures the Octogenarian and his long-suffering wife and de facto assistant Noriko preparing for their first joint exhibition: Ushio will present a selection of his ‘box paintings’––Jackson Pollock-inspired abstractions created by hurling paint-covered boxing gloves across a massive canvas, and Noriko, a showcase a series of witty illustrations entitled “Cutie and the Bullie,” which satirize their turbulent 40-year-old marriage. “Ultimately, my goal was to absorb the audience in the raw spirit and beauty that emanates from the couple,” explains Heinzerling. “To open a door onto the creative and very private world where the rhythms of the Shinoharas’s lives play out.” The result is an intimate tapestry of a challenging partnership, cemented by a bond that transcends their various artistic and financial impediments.

Cutie and the Boxer hit cinemas in the US this weekend, and will premiere in Europe November 1.

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