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One More Dance: Wiseman’s “Boxing Gym”

One More Dance: Wiseman's "Boxing Gym"

Frederick Wiseman is nothing if not consistent. From the classic, groundbreaking 1967 Titicut Follies, about a crumbling Massachusetts insane asylum, to 2009’s critically adored La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet, the formidable filmmaking icon has stringently employed the techniques that have become synonymous with his name. His form of documentary purism—applied to an astonishingly wide range of topics, from the inner workings of state government (State Legislature) to the evolution of a silver mining town into a playground for the rich (Aspen)—relies on immersion and meticulously edited observation rather than subtitles, narration, interviews, establishing shots, or any of the other tools that most nonfiction filmmakers depend on to construct their stories and propel them forward. Wiseman’s avid fans have learned that observing any subject through his astute eyes for a long enough period of time results in a layered, affectionate understanding it might otherwise have taken years of actual experience to develop. His latest, Boxing Gym, is more of the same in the best way possible, rooting beyond the surface sheen of glamour and violence in boxing to find a community of passionate, hardworking people. Read Farihah Zaman’s review of Boxing Gym.

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