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Robert M. Young
Edward James Olmos,
Unpretentious account of young boxers fight against prejudice
The first I heard of Francie Barret, the subject of _Southpaw_ was during the 1996 Olymplics, when a Right-Wing Asshole I had the misfortune to live with complained that "we had a knacker flying the flag for us" `Knacker' is a term of derision roughly eqivilant to `nigger' used to describe the intinerent community from which Francie comes, and this comment epitomises some of the prejudices he has to confront in the course of this documentary. He comes across as being a decent, honest young boxer who demonstrates the absurdity of the racial prjudice which stoll exists towards travelling people in Ireland, a prejudice as vitriolic in some cases as the worst that Irish people had to face when disembarking in Britain or the U.S. in the past. Coming from a community who choose to live in a relatively primative way, he never seems fazed by the prescence of the camera, and his trainers and friends seem equally cinegenic. It's a documentary that takes few chances stylistically, and never tries to romanticise his career a la _Rocky_ but isn't any the worse for that. those wishing to learn about Ireland's Travelling community will find this a welcome antidote to the sentimentalisation of _Into the West_ or the paddywhackery of _Trojan Eddie_
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