Interesting, often touching and richly detailed documentary. It is a window into a world very distant to most of us in the United States, yet familiar in many essential ways.
4 STARS. CAPTIVATING... Though there are enough crises to satisfy viewers looking for a Sino Rocky, China Heavyweight isn’t merely about the fighters’ personal struggles. Like Chang’s 2007 nonfiction feature, Up the Yangtze, the movie uses its micro-narrative to offer a subtle macro-critique of the state of modern China—a place where effusive national pride can’t entirely counterbalance the harsh social and economic realities that prevent each of these fighters from fully realizing his potential. It’s in between the lines that this movingly perceptive film scores a TKO.
This remarkably tender portrait positions a particularly violent sport as nothing less than a lifeline to the 21st century.
ENGROSSING.... intimate and affecting.
Beautifully observed and wrought with dramatic moments.
Critics' Pick: This fascinating documentary about rural teenagers attempting to become Olympic boxers focuses intently on process, but it also manages to offer a portrait of a nation in the midst of tremendous upheaval. Powerful stuff.
4 STARS (OUT OF 4). As with his previous film [Up the Yangtze], director Chang nurses a compelling drama from a multilayered cultural reality, at once intimate and unfathomably large in implications. In his sophomore film, Chang, once again, shows himself to be one of our great young cinéma-vérité directors, with “our” meaning, not just belonging to Canada, but to the world.