Cutie and the Boxer | Chicago Reader

Cutie and the Boxer

Rated R 82 minutes 2013

Director Zachary Heinzerling misses a bet with this documentary about octogenarian Japanese painter and sculptor Ushio Shinohara and wife, Noriko, an artist 21 years his junior. A founder of the Neo-Dada Organizers, a movement within the 1960s Tokyo avant-garde, Ushio became known for a style derived from his punching—boxing gloves and all—paint on canvas. Still working in this mode some 50 years later in Brooklyn, the expat can't make a sale when the Guggenheim comes calling; meanwhile, his long-suffering spouse appears to be finally getting her due. Intriguing as their present lives may be, without enough background to appreciate, for instance, Ushio's associations with Rauschenberg and Warhol, we can't gauge the full extent of the couple's regrets and losses. In English and subtitled Japanese.

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