Beyond the Canon—Girlfight + Raging Bull

Girlfight courtesy of Screen Gems/Photofest; Raging Bull courtesy of United Artists/Photofest

the item is usually no secret in which the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is usually a monthly series in which seeks to question in which history along with broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic that has a thematically or stylistically-related—along with equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded via in which discussion. This specific month’s double feature on July 21 pairs Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000, 110min) with Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980, 129min).

By Monica Castillo

If weighing in for a cinematic showdown, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) along with Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000) could be seen as radically different contenders. Visually, the films are like oil along with water. Scorsese mythologized his star boxer’s legacy on black-along with-white film—even the blood along with sweat pouring down his character’s face look painterly. His is usually an epic story of a man’s fall via grace. In contrast, Girlfight doubles down on the grimy sheen of a boxing gym. No corner looks like the item’s ever been mopped. The walls are punched in or collapsing. The place surely carries a caked-in stench of sweat along with moldy gym equipment. The film’s colour scheme looks as worn along with neglected as the gym. Girlfight is usually the story of a fighter’s journey up the ranks to an uncertain future.

Kusama’s electric debut stars Michelle Rodriguez as Diana Guzman, a scrappy high school girl in Brooklyn whose fists are ready to punch out the anger she doesn’t speak aloud. Her father pays for her brother to box nevertheless forbids Diana via pursuing the masculine sport. Hard-headed along with determined to put her temper to Great use, she pursues boxing despite the sexist assumptions via the men around her.

Raging Bull courtesy of United Artists/Photofest

As the “Bronx Bull” Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro portrays the career boxer as a man that has a desperation to win along that has a presence in which terrorizes people in along with out of the ring, including his two wives along with brother. After his winning streak ends along with problems with the law follow, the former champion is usually reduced to a bloated shadow of himself entertaining nightclub patrons. His fame along with fortune are only memories he dwells on while in his dressing room waiting for his next show. Despite their differences, these two combatants share a raw along with volatile energy  on-screen—a look of rage in every close-up, anger sweating out of every pore. Girlfight does a better job of exploring the abusive trajectory of domestic violence, with one set of flying fists leading to the next generation’s volatile problems. In one scene, Diana confronts her abusive father along with tells him directly in which he “made her This specific way.” In Raging Bull, LaMotta’s rage towards the women in his life, along with eventually his brother, is usually treated more like a birthmark in which’s always been a part of him.

Because boxing is usually seen as a masculine sport, the two characters’ experiences are inherently socially gendered. Diana could never aspire to develop the sustainable—if eventually limited—career LaMotta enjoyed. For her, boxing meant emotional along with mental survival; for Jake, the item was also a living. Moreover, as a man, neither LaMotta’s anger nor his interest inside sport was ever questioned. His gender allowed him to feel at home in This specific space instead of fighting just to get into the ring.

Girlfight courtesy of
Screen Gems/Photofest

Yet Diana along with Jake are tied together by additional threads: their obsessiveness along with their outsider statuses. They’re both via working class immigrant families—via the outer boroughs. They externalize their struggles through violence as a means of self-defense along with self-preservation. When explaining why she likes fighting, Diana answers, “You’re all you got. You’re all alone in there.”

During fights, the camera doesn’t just capture the scene as a
whole, nevertheless focuses on the inner-workings of the fighters. We get
inside their heads, watch time slow down as they calculate their
next moves with shots of their footwork, swinging arms, along with quick glances of the crowd. The tension between these moments of slow motion inferiority along with the frenetic energy of the match
are conveyed differently by each film, nevertheless the effect has equal impact.

Multiple times in Girlfight, several characters bemoan the lack of women boxers along with wish for more contenders for Guzman. in which line today brings to mind the repeated calls for better inclusion inside entertainment industry. When one of the coaches inside film complains in which the gym’s equality efforts have gone too far, his sentiments echo every male dominated sphere resistant to diversity initiatives. Be they artists or boxers, people want an equal shot in their “ring”—especially those who have been kept out of those arenas for generations.

Monica Castillo is usually a writer along with critic based in brand-new York City. Currently, she covers women’s news along with pop culture stories for The Lily at The Washington Post.

Upcoming Beyond the Canon: August 4—Set the item Off (F. Gary Gray, 1996, 124min) + Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975, 125min)

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Beyond the Canon—Girlfight + Raging Bull

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