Victor "Young" Perez , tells the astonishing, harrowing and incredible moving story of a Tunisian Jewish boxer, who became the World Flyweight Champion in 1931 and 1932. Perez started ...
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Victor "Young" Perez , tells the astonishing, harrowing and incredible moving story of a Tunisian Jewish boxer, who became the World Flyweight Champion in 1931 and 1932. Perez started training as a boxer at age 14 along with his older brother Benjamin "Kid" Perez Perez rose to great fame via the help and guidance of Leon Bellier and had a brief relationship with French-Italian actress Mireille Balin. The 5'1", 110-pound Perez won the International Boxing Union's version of the World Flyweight crown with a 2nd-round knockout of American champion Frankie Genaro, ergo becoming the youngest world champion in boxing history ! Perez was arrested in Paris on September 21, 1943 and detained in the Drancy internment camp France, before being transported to Auschwitz where he was assigned to the Monowitz to serve as a slave laborer Victor Perez arrived at Auschwitz on October 10, 1943, as part of "Transport 60" a group of 1,000. He was held in AuschwitzIII/Monowitz. Whilst there he was forced ...Written by
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"Victor 'Young' Perez" (2013 release from France; 110 min.) brings the story of Victor Perez. As the movie opens, we are told it is "Poland, November 1944" and see an older guy running rounds while shadowboxing in the grounds of Auschwitz. Then the movie flashed back to "Tunis 1929", and we get to know that same man as a young boxer wanna-be. It is Victor Perez, a Tunisian with Jewish roots. One day, he gets the chance to box for real, and it's not long before Perez rises through the ranks and attracts the attention of a sports agent in Paris. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is a traditional bio-pic of an extraordinary man, and I say this with the most respect for the movie's producers. They must be praised for bringing this story to the big screen, as it deserves to be seen and heard. It is therefore unfortunate that for me the movie feels like a "bio-pic by the numbers", with little tension and a surprising lack of background information on the title character himself. Yes. we see him box but what was it like for him to grow us as a Tunisian with Jewish roots? That is never addressed! The scenes at Auschwitz are of course harrowing but it still doesn't make up for the movie's other shortcomings. But I am still giving it 7 stars as the story is so compelling and more people needs to be exposed to it.
I recently saw this movie at the 2016 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati. Given its original release in 2013 in France, I have no idea why it has taken this long to reach US audiences, but better late than not at all, I suppose. The Cincinnati screening was attended very nicely. "Victor 'Young' Perez" is, warts and all, worth checking out.
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