Dr. Sam Frizzell lives alone with his eighteen year old daughter Ariel Frizzell in the upper middle class Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver. Sam has dated little since his wife died when ... See full summary »
Dr. Sam Frizzell lives alone with his eighteen year old daughter Ariel Frizzell in the upper middle class Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver. Sam has dated little since his wife died when Ariel was a young child, he instead focusing his attentions on his daughter. With the exception of sex, Ariel has almost become a surrogate wife for Sam. Ariel, on the other hand, has taken that role one step further, she who has an Electra complex. Ariel has had behavior issues, in large part due to the circumstances around her mother's death and the way Sam has treated her since. As such, she has no real friends and she is home schooled by a tutor - a young man named Markus who often cannot control his student - as she couldn't function within a school environment. Into their lives comes Mary. As their third date, Sam thinks it would be a good idea for Mary to come to his house to meet Ariel. Mary's already tenuous dating life takes a step backward when Ariel is openly hostile toward Mary over ... Written by
The first main line film featuring topless female boxers - how does one begin to comment? No doubt in the past others have considered producing similar films and decided against - probably primarily because they knew these would be regarded as sleaze and exploitation and therefore would be dead on the ground before they were ever released. Both the actors and the producer involved in this film were very courageous; but were they wise, and have they opened the floodgates to more violent pornography as other less restrained producers jump onto a new bandwagon? There are three primary issues I will try to deal with here, the first the business issue of making the product financially viable, the second the justification for featuring women boxing topless and only then the third and most important question - is the final product a worth while film?.
The subject matter reeks of sleaze and sexploitation, I would never have gone near a cinema showing such a film if I had not been told by someone I felt I could trust that it was a very good film, and that I would leave the cinema with many significant issues to think about. I suspect my first reaction would be pretty common, and this must make it very difficult for cinemas to show the film or for the company to market it. The business assessments made when financing was secured would have been very interesting. Clearly only very limited takings would have been projected and it must have been a very low budget production - something that in itself usually makes for a low quality product. In this case those who made the film must have had a lot of faith that they were creating something worthwhile, and they clearly worked closely together as a team to achieve this. It is now four years since this film was released and I am not so far aware of any rush to imitate it, so at this point we can probably evaluate it as a one off production without worrying about the opened floodgates.
Should a film feature girls boxing topless? This is very hard to watch
almost as hard as films showing Christians being thrown to the lions
in the Roman Arena. I turned away from the screen occasionally; but must answer that films, like books, are entitled to feature anything which is, or has been, part of our society and this was a perfectly legitimate subject. Boxing as a sport and boxing as public entertainment are very different matters - I look forward to a time when the latter is as anachronistic as throwing Christians to the lions. There are few sights more sad than the professional boxer who has aged to the point where he can only look forward to a long series of matches in which he is no more than a punching bag for younger opponents, followed by an early retirement with little income. There is also the social aspect that becoming punch-drunk from minor brain damage in this latter part of his career often leads to reduced mental capacity which places a burden of support on society in general. But women have as much right to box professionally as men. In many parts of the world women are still little more than possessions of their husbands, They have demanded equality and must have it. Far in the future the law may again recognise a need to protect both sexes through specific discriminatory legislation, but in the current historical situation this would, probably wisely, never even be considered. Our route is for women to receive the same rights as men, and then to decide for themselves whether to take up these rights. In Canada, women have fought hard for the legal right to go topless anywhere that men can. Quite properly they now have this enshrined by law, but the point has been made and sensibly we do not see more topless women around than we used to. Boxing as public entertainment is legal, and if women choose to box, topless or otherwise, then film-makers have the right to feature this in their films.
Having expressed my views on this I have little space left to comment on the film, but I can assure my readers that it is well made and very thought provoking. It deals with several important issues, particularly those relating to single parent families. Offhand I cannot think of another film which more sensitively faces the situation that arises when a young girl has to take over the duties of a deceased or divorced mother, and then very gradually begins to feel she should also take over some of the other responsibilities her mother felt towards her father. It is remarkably well acted and Sonja Bennett (the daughter of the director, who was probably 21 when Punch was filmed) played the part of the disturbed teenager so convincingly that she earned a well deserved award at the 2002 Vancouver International Film Festival. Her work in "Punch" seems to have been well received as she is now professionally very active with a number of other films completed and at least three more awaiting release. I suggest watching for her future appearances. Also Meredith McGeachie received a nomination for a genie award. The ultimate test however remains whether you would want to go to a cinema to watch "Punch" . You might not enjoy it any more than I did, but would probably also find it stimulating and rewarding. However the fight scenes are very brutal, and I suspect that many cinema-goers would not be prepared to watch them. Although there are even more brutal scenes in many widely admired fantasy films, these make no effort to involve you with their characters beforehand.
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