8:00 PM, 20th July, 2001
Diana (Rodriguez) is a girl with problems. She can't stop arguing at school, her dad doesn't pay attention to her after the death of her mother, and she feels like she's going to explode. But when she goes along to a gym with her brother, something starts to click. As she gets more and more involved in boxing, she also gets more and more involved with Adrian (Douglas), another boxer who dreams of going pro.
More an intimate character study than a "look how glamorous boxing is" film, "Girlfight" drags us into the family squabbles and the deep emotional bond Diana forms with Adrian, with most of the story being told through Diana's intense, angry eyes. Yes, the story does feature Diana heading towards a climactic big fight with a most unlikely opponent, but more than that, it's about the internal fight to find strength, and how machismo isn't necessarily just a male characteristic.
For a lot of critics, this was right up there in the top ten lists. Writer/director Kusama won Best Directing Prize and the film shared the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. So, yeah, this could very well be the best film you never heard of until now on the program this year.
9:50 PM, 20th July, 2001
In the 1940s Jake LaMotta (De Niro) was a middleweight boxing champion.
His unstoppable rise from rags-to-riches was because he was a "raging bull". Unfortunately, the same anger also drove Jake to beat his wife and his brother Joey, and sent him down a self-destructive path of rage, when he lost everything.
If this sounds too depressing for you, take heart, this is a great movie about the human spirit, about what we can all do if we are motivated. This movie won 2 Oscars; one to DeNiro for Best Actor, and one to Thelma Schoonmaker for editing those (famously bloody) boxing scenes.