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Cutie and the Boxer [DVD]

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara
  • Directors: Zachary Heinzerling
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Dogwoof
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Jan. 2014
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00F3BWEYG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,988 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

As a rowdy young Neo-Dadaist artist in Tokyo, Ushio yearned for international recognition, so in 1969 he set sail for New York City. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio, ultimately abandoning her education to become the wife and assistant to an unruly, alcoholic husband.

Over the course of their marriage, the roles have shifted. Now 80, Ushio is obsessed with establishing his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art - a series of drawings entitled 'Cutie and Bullie', depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, love and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.

Special Features
Deleted scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Ushio Boxing Painting
70s Archival film about Ushio

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD
"Cutie and the Boxer" (2013 release; 82 min.) is a documentary that examines the lives and times of avant-garde artists Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Ushio is famed for his boxing paintings (he shadow-boxes and then smashes the paint onto the screen), and Noriko gains notoriety for creating the "Cutie" animation character. As the movie opens, we see the now elderly couple living in their New York apartment and art studio, celebrating Ushio's 80th birthday. (Much later in the movie we learn that when these two met, he was 41 and she was 19). Their financial situation is not good, and the couple is very eager to sell some art their art work. They are in touch with several New York art galleries. To tell you more of the "plot", such as there is, would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is a revealing and remarkable look at the marriage of these artists, now 4 decades into it. Both arrived in New York in the early 70s, and much to its credit, the documentary has archive footage from those early days, and even from the 1960s when Ushio was making a name for himself in his native Japan. Equally revealing is the art work from Noriko, creating the "Cutie" and Bullie" characters which are a stand-in for herself and Ushio, and while you might cringe at her art-husband being named "Bullie", it is also clear these two care very much for each other. The movie does a great job balancing the attention between the two, even though Ushio is surely the more overbearing and attention-grabbing one.
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By A M Gott on 15 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"We are like two flowers in one pot" 27 Sept. 2013
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
"Cutie and the Boxer" (2013 release; 82 min.) is a documentary that examines the lives and times of avant-garde artists Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Ushio is famed for his boxing paintings (he shadow-boxes and then smashes the paint onto the screen), and Noriko gains notoriety for creating the "Cutie" animation character. As the movie opens, we see the now elderly couple living in their New York apartment and art studio, celebrating Ushio's 80th birthday. (Much later in the movie we learn that when these two met, he was 41 and she was 19). Their financial situation is not good, and the couple is very eager to sell some art their art work. They are in touch with several New York art galleries. To tell you more of the "plot", such as there is, would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is a revealing and remarkable look at the marriage of these artists, now 4 decades into it. Both arrived in New York in the early 70s, and much to its credit, the documentary has archive footage from those early days, and even from the 1960s when Ushio was making a name for himself in his native Japan. Equally revealing is the art work from Noriko, creating the "Cutie" and Bullie" characters which are a stand-in for herself and Ushio, and while you might cringe at her art-husband being named "Bullie", it is also clear these two care very much for each other. The movie does a great job balancing the attention between the two, even though Ushio is surely the more overbearing and attention-grabbing one. Some interesting quotes from the movie: at one point Ushio is working on a new, massive-sized painting, and he comments to Noriko "Hard to say whether this is good or bad, finished or unfinished", to which Noriko responds "I don't think it's good", ha! On a more serious note, Noriko is asked by a journalist what it's like to be married to someone who is in the same line of work as herself, and Noriko responds "We are like two flowers in one pot, sometimes we struggle to find enough breathing room".

This is one heck of a beautiful and touching documentary. If, on the other hand, you don't care for modern art or avant-garde art, save yourself the trouble (and money) and catch another movie, as art is front and center in this. "Cutie and the Boxer" opened this past weekend at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati, and I finally went to see it today. So glad I did. Be sure to stay until the end credit start to roll, as you will be treated to perhaps the best images of the entire movie. If you are in the mood for a documentary that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, you will be richly rewarded for checking this out. "Cutie and the Boxer" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
so wonderful 29 Jan. 2014
By BFF - Published on Amazon.com
The documentary covers a long period of time and really gives the audience a feel for how the relationship began and how it moved and changed through time. The struggle for artists is quite real and often times it is romanticized - people think it is this existential existence that involves lounging around a loft drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and occasionally staring at a canvas. This documentary shows how art and love drive two people forward through their lives and how they aren't exactly balanced. The relationship begins with art and moves in and out of love, criticism, struggles with alcohol and money, everything. I am not an easy crier and this one drew out very meaningful tears. Strongly recommended for anyone who is interested in art or turbulent relationships.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Painful and engrossing screwball tragedy told without pity by its central character 21 Jan. 2014
By Arlin Stoltzfus - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Ushio Shinohara is a wiry avant garde artist, now something like 80 years old, who made his fame decades ago with "boxing painting" and cardboard sculptures. His partner Noriko Shinohara apparently came directly from Japan as a young woman, and soon after meeting Ushio, was married and expecting a child. 40 years later, Ushio is still reckless and hyperkinetic. He boxes out a painting in 2 minutes. That's how long it takes, every time. He wolfs down his meal in about the same time, while gushing about how delicious it tastes. To get some money to pay the rent and buy supplies, he decides to go to Japan to sell some of his work: he haphazardly stuffs some of his smaller sculptures into a very large suitcase, and goes banging down the stairs dressed like a beggar, heading to the airport.

But ultimately one is fascinated by the story of Noriko, whose presence begins to dominate the film, which reveals her perspective on their lives, and her artistic aspirations. This movie is a documentary with a concurrent plot device-- an upcoming exhibition on which Ushio is pinning his hopes for a career renewal. This is the context for watching him paint and sculpt and talk on the phone with exhibitors and potential buyers. We get to see moments both intimate and mundane in their every-day lives, as well as some historic flashbacks through still images and Noriko's paintings. But this film is driven by the emotional legacy of the Shinohara's marriage, and our curiosity about just how much these two sacrificed to live the lives of NYC struggling artists.

It soon becomes painfully clear that the characters in Noriko's paintings, Cutie and Bullie, are barely disguised versions of Noriko and Ushio. The cartoonish renderings that chronicle their early lives are devastating. The story of Cutie and Bullie is the backstory or Noriko and Ushio that gives the film its emotional weight. Without this backstory it would be a quirky documentary about some old artists who managed to stay married for 40 years without any effective communication or relationship skills.

I suppose this film isn't for everyone. I would recommend it for people who want to see something that is intense without being dramatic, and quirky while being (apparently) completely true to life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Cutie and the Boxer: A Love Story 12 Jan. 2014
By Tsuyoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
“Cutie and the Boxer” is a documentary about the life of an 80-year-old Japanese Ushio Shinohara, a New York-based artist who has created “boxing painting,” and his wife Noriko, herself an artist (whose drawing is used to recount how they met each other in America about 40 years ago). Directed by first-timer Zachary Heinzerling, “Cutie and the Boxer” captures the complicated nature of being an artist, though some part of the film can be misleading.

First, this is a documentary about artists, but the film seems more interested in their life than in their art. The film may show you how Ushio creates a boxing painting or how the couple receives a visit from a Guggenheim curator, but you are not going to learn much about their art in the context of modern art history.

For “Cutie and the Boxer” is primarily a love story, and a very intriguing one. The film is a fascinating portrait of a long-married couple who have seen a lot, and as such it is touching and thought-provoking.

To focus the relationship between the couple, “Cutie and the Boxer” ignores the career of Ushio (called affectionately “Gyu-chan” by Noriko or "Cutie"), who was one of the most visible faces in Japan's avant-garde art movements in the early 1960s. Some aspects of their life including the presence of their son are only briefly touched upon but not explored.

So, we are allowed to see just part of the artists’ life, which must have been much more eventful than the film shows. Still, “Cutie and the Boxer” manages to give you a glimpse of what a life as (and with) an artist can be.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Candid Portrait of a 40-Year Artistic Marriage 9 April 2014
By Dr. Laurence Raw - Published on Amazon.com
CUTIE AND THE BOXER is a no-holds barred documentary focusing on the 40-year marriage of Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Ushio established his reputation in Japan as a leading avant-garde artist before emigrating to the United States; since his marriage in the early Seventies, it's clear he has assumed a dominant role as artist and alcoholic, seldom taking much notice of his wife, also an artist. Zachary Heinzerling's film shows how Noriko carved out a niche for herself by creating designs for herself, focusing on a character called Cutie and her struggles for self-determination. The subjects of such designs are very closely related to Noriko's own life; it's clear she has experienced a difficult time trying to put up with a difficult husband - who throughout his life has found it hard to make a living through his art - and a son who drinks too much. It's a tribute to her stoicism that she not only manages to retain her artistic voice, but creates designs of her own that satirize her husband. Ushio, by now a reformed alcoholic, views his wife's paintings indulgently; they don't represent a threat to his masculinity, nor his status as an artist. In truth Noriko's designs are far more expressive than her husband's - although Ushio claims to produce material that will show a "new" artist, he only ever produces copies of work created several decades previously. Director Heinzerling makes no judgment on either of the protagonists, but leaves us to make up our own minds, What is perhaps most admirable is the way the couple have stayed together through thick and thin - despite their differences, they are obviously still in love with one another.
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