Cutie And The Boxer Official Trailer (2013)

My favorite scene in this excellent documentary about the Japanese-born, Brooklyn-bred painters Ushio Shinohara (The Boxer) and his wife Noriko (Cutie) occurs late in the film as the two are preparing for a joint show in a New York Gallery.

Life for the couple, who have been married 40 years, has often bordered on desperation. Ushio's career peaked thirty years earlier and they have been living from painting to painting in the same cramped Brooklyn apartment, ever since. They NEED this show to succeed.

Shinohara demonstrates his "boxing painting."
Cutie's work is coming together. The camera trains on the face of Ushio, now 80 years old, as he struggles with a large painting. He's losing control of the canvas and he knows it. Noriko confirms his fears- "I don't think it's good."

The scene changes to a clip taken several decade earlier of Ushio sitting with friends at the table in the same cramped apartment. They've been drinking and the artist is feeling upbeat.

Shinohara to his friend:

You're so negative.
You've got to be positive.
Be positive about what?
Life is wonderful.
Life is wonderful.
Life should be positive.
When it's blown to pieces, that's when it becomes art.
Art is messy when it pours out of you.
The New York Times once said, "Shinohara is amazing."
Why do I...(wipes eyes)
It makes me cry.
I believe in my career...
Goddamn it!
Gyu-chan, Gyu-chan...
Why do I have to? (sobbing uncontrollably)
I want to cry... (his friends embrace him)
I've got nothing.
Listen to me!
This is so hard...
And it's so fantastic...
Now I've got nothing.
You see...
We are the ones suffering the most from art...

Noriko's "Cutie and Bullie" paintings are a narrative depicting her life with Ushio.

The artists pose in their studio with filmmaker, Zachary Heinzerling.

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