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Cutie and the Boxer (2013)Cutie and the Boxer (2013)

           This film about the artist couple Ushio and Noriko Shinohara was nominated for Best Documentary for the 2014 Oscars. The film opens with the diminutive eighty-year-old Ushio in goggles, slamming away at a huge canvas with boxing gloves fitted with paint sponges. The "action painting" by the Neo-Dadaist takes about two minutes. Then there's his huge motorcycle made of cardboard. Ushio's work has been featured at galleries around the world. Noriko, who met Ushio when she came to New York City as an art student in the 1960s, is a painter-cartoonist, but has lived in the shadow of her husband. Much of the film explores their stormy relationship, and her growing independence and empowerment. Ushio's works don't sell, they appear to live in poverty, Ushio and his son Alex were alcoholics, and yet they've stayed together for forty stormy years. The film was a favorite at Sundance. I watched this film on Netflix streaming.

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