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Girlfight

Nothing could have prepared us for Girlfight, the brilliant debut from newcomer Karyn Kusama. A surprising blow to the senses, this film is no simple winner-takes-all storyÑno heroes here, only a gritty fighter determined to make it in a man’s game. Diana is a fighter. She fights with school bullies, with her teachers, with her father. The tough streets of Brooklyn have a way of hardening a teenage girl, especially one who lacks a mother’s guiding hand. When she tries to take this tendency one step further, the guys at the boxing gym laugh at her. But Diana is about to prove them wrong. In time, the gym becomes Diana’s home, a place in which to channel all her pugilistic energy without having to abide by the overbearing rules of the outside world. She is trained in the art by Hector, a world-weary but genuinely decent man who sees something in Diana others do not talent.
Now that she has finally found her purpose in life, Diana also finds romance with fellow boxer Adrian. As their love matures, she realises with horror that she must eventually fight him for the club championship. Winning used to be everything , but now she’s not so sure. Girlfight is propelled by Michelle Rodriguez’s subtle and commanding performance, which allows us access to all the frustrations, pain and fear hidden behind her character’s tough façade. Kusama directs with refreshing vigourÑthe fight scenes alone speak volumes about her talent (not since Raging Bull have they been so engaging). Raw, insightful and painfully honest, Girlfight will have you cheering for more.. (U.S.A., 2000. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 111 mins.

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