By Gregory Crofton
Its modern classical soundtrack is what elevates this gentle, meaningful love story of two Asian artists who found each other in New York City. But also its the characters, especially Cutie — real name Noriko — who shoulders the film, just as she does much of the shoulder work required in the life she shares with her husband, the Boxer — Ushio Shinohara.
Director Zachary Heinzerling, whose most recent IMDB credits are listed as an associate producer on two football-related documentaries, uses archival footage from the news media and home movies in a marvelous way to unlock key parts of the story.
Awe-inducing shots of Ushio swimming in a public pool, many other beautifully framed images, and the animation of Noriko’s black-and-white illustrations, help keep things things fresh throughout. The documentary also shines because it concludes artfully after 82 minutes, avoiding the overly long pitfall into which many documentaries fall these days.
“CUTIE AND THE BOXER” is still showing in select theaters. Look for it. More information about the film can be found here.