23/07/2013

Boxing With Her: A group of women’s fight to get to the ring

Latifa Robbana Doghri and Salem Trabelsi document the progress—and sacrifices—of Tunisian female boxers

Tunisia

Boxing With Her: A group of women’s fight to get to the ring

Boxing with Her (B’net el boxe) is Tunisian filmmakers Latifa Robbana Doghri and Salem Trabelsi’s first documentary. It first appeared at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in 2011, followed with other festival appearances before its Tunisian release in 2012.

Boxing with Her is a 52-minute documentary that tells the story of seven Tunisian female boxers who fight every day, not only in the ring, but to defend their right to practice the sport they love. Heavily relying on the development of characters as a storytelling technique, Doghri and Trabelsi seek to show their audience these women’s difficult social reality, and the exceptional amount of courage and perseverance they manifest to confront it.

“For us, these boxers are an example of courage and perseverance," explained Doghri in an interview with the Doha Film Institute. "They are focused with one of the most courageous objectives of doing what they’re passionate about, and are ready to sacrifice everything to get to their goal. But there are mixed views about these women in our society.”

From their factory jobs to the ring, passing by the kitchen, Boxing with Her takes us through the boxers’ lives demonstrating their sacrifices and their passion.

While Doghri and Trabelsi certainly make a thorough approach of their subject, their film unfortunately lacks a structure that would help the audience become closer to the subject, and, unfortunately, our impression of the boxers’ lives remains impersonal.

Furthermore, the film leaves us with a sense that the filmmakers may have been too aware of their Western public’s predisposition to be impressed by the boxers’ perseverance in spite of their circumstances. We do not finish watching the film with a heightened understanding of Tunisian society.

But Doghri and Trabelsi do manage to portray an interesting phenomenon and address a socially significant topic in a compelling and instructive way.

The film’s performance in festivals attests to this: It won the Golden Hawk at the 2012 Rotterdam Arab Film Festival, and was screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the CinemAfrica Festival in Stockholm, and the Family of Woman Film Festival in 2011.

 

Delfina Grinspan

 

Boxing With Her – trailer:

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