“Belarmino,” a Hidden Masterwork

Richard Brody at The New Yorker:

From the start, Lopes makes clear the fusion of style and substance that, no less than the fusion of reportage and reënactment, gives “Belarmino” its (and Belarmino his) artistic identity. The boxer—a former national champion in the featherweight division, who’s thirty-two and has been fighting for sixteen years—bounces down a long corridor to a training gym where, through a picture window, other athletes, all in striped shirts, are seen energetically working out as if in an angular dance scene choreographed by Jack Cole. Although others—younger, leaner, looser—spar and swarm, Belarmino, embodying the loneliness of the long-term boxer, punches the heavy bag with a fierce and solitary determination. It’s this very peculiarity—the essentially social and public nature of boxing versus the grimly encasing solitude of the boxer, the boxer’s desire for a private life and a social life versus the ferociously isolating dedication that the sport requires—which emerges in Lopes’s vision of Belarmino.

more here.