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Small, Slow but Steady 12A

Shô Miyake, France, Japan, 2022, 99m.

The screening at 18:15 on 6 July has Descriptive Subtitles.

Sho Miyake's semi-fictional adaptation of Keiko Ogasawara's memoir Makenaide! is a delicate study of deafness in the context of an amateur boxing community. Keiko, a hotel cleaner by day, spends her evenings training with her trainer in his shabby gym in suburban Tokyo. After surprising everyone by winning her first two professional fights, something even more unexpected happens, changing Keiko's psyche and the cadence of her movements. Kishii is brilliant as the stern, introspective and determined Keiko, while Tomokazu Miura ably conveys the stoicism of her mentor. Shot on sensuous 16mm, this is a unique boxing film that is less focused on victory in the ring and more concerned with the quiet but genuinely dramatic arc of Keiko's journey.

'Tender Heartbreaker of a Boxing Movie Scores a Knockout Without Punching Hard'- Variety

'Kishii Yukino gives a superb lead performance as Keiko, a young deaf woman who has just turned pro, in this highly atypical boxing movie based on the memoir of real-life boxer Ogasawara Keiko.'- Sight & Sound

The Garden Cinema View:

An aptly titled film that eschews the narrative clichés of the boxing film in favour of something far more intimate and interior. Scenes of naturalistic gym work are privileged above bombastic training montage or in-ring showdowns (often shown at a distance on DVR replays). Beautifully framed and lit 16mm photography builds proximity with this often isolated deaf athlete, and this formal control elevates Small, Slow but Steady beyond its minor key story, with a closing montage of poetic contemplation that might have slipped straight out of Ozu.  

Yukino Kishii, Tomokazu Miura, Masaki Miura

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