This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband's assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.
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For years, Ushio Shinohara has been one of the leading, and most under- appreciated, alternative artists in Japan and New York City with an wildly esoteric style. For many of those years, his wife, Noriko, has been a faithful companion to this idiosyncratic man, but grew wanting to be more. This film covers the relationship of this special couple as Ushio struggles for commercial success on his own terms. Additionally, we follow Noriko pursuing her own artistic vision with her semi-autobiographical line art project that reveals much about her own soul as eloquently as her husband's work. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Life is wonderful. Life should be positive. When it's blown to pieces, that's when it becomes art. Art is messy and dirty when it pours out of you. The New York Times once said "Shinohara is amazing." Listen... Brother... Why do I... It makes me cry. I believe in my career goddamn it. Why do I have to? I want to cry. I've got nothing. Listen to me! This is so hard... And it's so fantastic... Now I've got nothing. You see... We are the ones suffering the most from art...
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My wife and I have sat through countless biopics about famous artists, and after virtually every one we have the same thought: the movie would have been so much more interesting if it had focused on the artist's life partner instead of the artist. Famous artists in general are a boring bunch -- what's interesting about them is the art they produce. But the people who have to make a life with an artist -- they're the ones whose heads I want to get a peek at.
"Cutie and the Boxer" is a documentary about well-known artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. He's 80, she's 60. They live hand-to-mouth in NYC, never sure how they're going to pay their rent from one month to the next. Noriko is incredibly supportive of the self-absorbed Ushio, to the detriment of her own career as an artist. The film is a day-in-the-life story about these two and the dynamic between them. It's a portrait of a marriage that has been wildly successful on the one hand (they're still together and seem to be very much in love) and full of regret on the other (disappointment in themselves for the mess of a son they raised). Noriko teases Ushio constantly about what a jerk he is and how she doesn't know why she puts up with him. Ushio laughs but looks uneasy -- we don't blame him, because Noriko's teasings always seem to built on a foundation of true resentment.
The lives of Ushio and Noriko are about as different from mine as possible, yet the thing that makes "Cutie and the Boxer" so good is its appeal is universal. Anyone who's made a true effort at building a life with a partner should find something to relate to in this film.
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