Shot in three countries over a two year period, Boxers and Ballerinas explores the US-Cuba conflict through the eyes of four youths--a boxer and a ballerina in Havana and Santiago de Cuba and a boxer and a ballerina exiled in Miami.
Boxers and Ballerinas is about four young people forever united by their cultural heritage, and forever divided by 90 miles of water and over 40 years of political conflict. The documentary traces the lives of a boxer and a ballerina in Miami, Florida, and a boxer and a ballerina in Havana, Cuba: their triumphs and failures, their power and powerlessness, and the singular intensity and violence of being young. Boxers and Ballerinas cuts through the romantic mystery of Cuba, the neon stereotype of Miami, and the political noise of US-Cuba relations to the sweat, sex, grace and aggression of winning the fight, nailing the pirouette, and chasing the dream until the body gives in. It is a film about young people by young people. Characters Yordenis Ugas: 17, 2003 World champion Junior Boxer 57kg, Cuba Yordenis fought his way out of the heavily impoverished, predominantly black district of Santiago de Cuba to earn a spot in Cuba's elite athletics school in Havana. The top boxer of their ... Written by
This vibrant, beautiful film, directed by Brit Marling and Mike Cahill, profiles four Cuban athletes and dancers -- two in Miami and two in Havana -- who struggle to perfect their craft while weighing obligations to family, homeland, and themselves.
Unlike typical documentaries that feature a succession of talking heads, Boxers and Ballerinas chooses a visual approach more reminiscent of fictional dramas. There's inventive use of color palettes, sound, framing, and competent, multiple-camera editing.
(Film seen at the 48th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2005.)
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