Cutie and the Boxer

USA | 2013 | 81 minutes | Zachary Heinzerling

This film about the creative process, aging, and marriage is also a candid New York love story that explores the four-decade marriage of painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, as she seeks an identity of her own as an artist.

May 26, 2013
xHarvard Exit  
11:00 AM Date has passed
May 28, 2013
xHarvard Exit  
7:00 PM Date has passed
Show All

Like any couple married for nearly 40 years, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara have had their share of joys, disappointments, laughter, and resentment. For the Shinoharas, however, the emotions of their long relationship are heightened by their shared profession: Both are artists of Japanese descent who have struggled on the periphery of New York City's avant-garde art scene for decades. In this intimate documentary, Zachary Heinzerling explores their complicated, co-dependent relationship that has soured over the years but lost none of its strength. Ushio first gained notoriety in the 1960s for his neo-Dadaist sculptures and "boxing" paintings, made by punching a canvas with paint-covered boxing gloves. A few years after immigrating to New York, he met 19-year-old art student Noriko. Instantly smitten, they have been together ever since, although their professional trajectories never rose as high as they had expected. Today, at age 80, Ushio is trying for one more successful show to seal his artistic legacy, while the 59-year-old Noriko is finally making a name for herself with her "Cutie" series of R. Crumb-like illustrations depicting her relationship with Ushio and his earlier struggles with alcoholism. Through vérité camerawork, archival footage, and animated sequences of Noriko's drawings, Cutie and the Boxer is an intimate, funny, uncompromising portrait of the Shinoharas's unique love story that stubbornly refuses to follow an easy or conventional path.

Director Biography
Zachary Heinzerling is a director and cinematographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked on several feature-length films for HBO, including three Emmy Award-winning documentaries as a field producer and camera operator. Cutie and the Boxer is his feature film debut, which earned him the Directing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Sponsored in part by The Art Institute of Seattle

Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Principal Cast: Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara
Country: USA
Year: 2013
Running Time: 81 minutes
Producer: Lydia Dean Pilcher, Patrick Burns, Sierra Pettengill
Cinematographers: Zachary Heinzerling
Editors: David Teague, Andy Grieve, Akiko Iwakawa
Music: Yasuaki Shimizu
Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2013 (U.S. Documentary Directing Award)
Filmography: Debut Feature Film
Language: English, Japenese
Format: DCP
US Distributor: RADiUS-TWC
International Sales: Submarine Entertainment
Show All