Molinas Star in Boxing Doc "Born and Bred"
|Written by The Sweet Science|
|Monday, 08 August 2011 22:25|
Set in the east side of Los Angeles, America's new amateur boxing capital, BORN AND BRED tracks three teenage fighters as they train for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and for careers in the professional ring.
For ten years, 15 year-old twin brothers Oscar and Javier Molina have followed in the footsteps of their father, a boxer from the gang-war torn district of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Their older brother boxed. Their cousins boxed. It's a family tradition.
Their trainer, Robert Luna, a former Army Ranger who failed in his own boxing career is intensely ambitious for his young prospects. Not only does he believe that the twin brothers have immense natural talent, he believes his years in the sport were a prelude to his own career as one of the great trainers in boxing. Luna knew the Molina brothers were a unique pair the moment they walked into his Commerce Boxing Gym a decade ago. "They were tough, humble, nice kids. But when I started working with them, you could tell right away they had something special."
Down the street, at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Gym, head trainer Rodrigo Mosquera, after failing to raise his own sons to be world class boxers, works with his own young prospect. Mosquera is convinced that twelve year-old Victor Pasillas, undefeated in 70 consecutive bouts, is a future world champion. Victor has a relentless drive and a precocious understanding of the sport defeating opponents with a vicious force no one expects from such a small kid.
While the twins are soft spoken and do what they're told, Victor is pure machismo and does what he wants. "When I get in that ring, I look across it to see if my opponent has any heart," he tells the camera. "If he doesn't, I take him out right away. If he does....I take it away from him. I make sure he has no heart."
Apart from the kids' battles in the ring, BORN AND BREDtells back stories of their parents harrowing journeys across the U.S. border, their hopes for their children, and reveals the boys' deep belief in who they have been taught to become-inside and outside the ring.
"The very first time I went to a local boxing event," relates director Justin Frimmer who shot the film in a fast-paced, cinema verité style, "I knew in my gut that there was something very powerful happening that hadn't really ever been documented on film. There was just an intense vitality in the mixture of the violence in the ring and the innocence of the children. It was raw human drama. Once I started shooting, the stories took over."
Shot over four years, BORN AND BRED includes material of the immigration protests that erupted in 2006 and sets boxing against the backdrop of the immigrant experience.
Boxing has always been an ethnic-centric sport. Over the decades boxers have represented each of the waves of American immigration and a way out of poverty and into power. According to the 2008 census, nearly 40% of residents in Los Angeles County are now foreign born, the highest since the Ellis Island generation of the early 20th century. Like generations of immigrants before them (Germans, Italians, Jews) and other ethnicities entrenched in poverty (African Americans) many of these Latino kids, their parents, and those who stand to benefit from their success, grab at the illusive magic of the boxing ring.
BORN AND BREDhas a special force for two audiences: For those who love boxing it's a celebration of the demands and discipline of the most individual and demanding sport. And those who know nothing about boxing will never again watch an A-List bout on HBO, without knowing the heavy traffic and the high tolls paid on the long road to get there.
BORN AND BRED(94 min.) Not rated. Opens August 19 at LA's Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 and NY's QUAD Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York, New York 10011 p: 212-255-2243 f: 212-255-2247