Merging immigrant hunger and Olympic dreams, “Born and Bred” offers a vérité portrait of three young Mexican-American boxers in East Los Angeles.
The boxing twins Javier and Oscar Molina
Beginning in late 2005 and filming over four years, the director, Justin Frimmer, immerses himself in this quintessential blue-collar sport and the lives of his striving subjects. For the shy 15-year-old Molina twins, the nerve-racking transition to the adult division means squaring off against fighters more than twice their age. But for the cocky 12-year-old Victor Pasillas — who hasn’t lost a fight in three years — defeat is not an option.
“That little lad don’t know fear,” marvels his proud coach, Rodrigo Mosquera, whose bond with this pugnacious youngster eases more personal disappointments. Delving into hair-raising family histories (the Molina boys’ mother entered the United States from Mexico in the engine compartment of a pickup truck) and a boxing tradition that in many cases spans generations, Mr. Frimmer highlights a culture of sport as safety net, offering a haven for vulnerable kids and peace of mind for their parents.
Hobbled by a filming style as raw as the talent on screen, Mr. Frimmer records the twins’ pray-and-pummel progress through Olympic-qualifying tournaments and crises of confidence. The fights are unexciting and the brothers uncharismatic, yet the film finds a soft, soulful center in their relationship with Robert Luna, a former Army Ranger and their longtime trainer.
Philosopher, counselor, mentor and strategist, Mr. Luna believes that the lessons learned inside the ring form the foundation for a happy life outside. Around him a sea of scrawny hopefuls, T-shirts bloodied and cheeks bulging with ill-fitting mouth guards, seem determined to prove him right.
Opens August 19th, 2011 in Los Angeles and New York
Source: NY Times