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I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Goodbye Darling, I’m off to Fight

Review by: Luci Döll
Cast: Chantal Ughi, Andrew Robert Thomson and Anissa Meksen
Director: Simone Manetti
Writers: Alfredo Covelli, Simone Manetti
Synopsis: This documentary follows Chantal Ughi, an Italian woman, for 30 days, in her ambitious goal to win a World Title in Muay Thai.

Review:
“If you’re not loved as a child, love becomes pain, something else.” – Chantal Ughi

Chantal is an Italian woman, who has been a fashion model in Japan, an actress in Italy, and an underground singer in New York before deciding to reinvent her life again by moving to Thailand, to take up Muay Tahi, a form of hard martial art.

At the time of the beginning of the film, Chantal is trying to make her way back into the Muay Thai circuits. After 53 fights over 5 years of training, she lost her passion for the Martial Art. She loses a match, quits and returns to Italy. She decides to reignite her passion for Muay Thai, with a seemingly impossible goal. She plans be back in the ring in one month, in Thailand, in front of the Royal Family, to try to regain the world title.

The film opens like a tourism ad for Thailand, the shots are beautifully composed, with soaring cinematography, and voyeuristic close-ups. The scale is very human as we follow Chantal’s progress during the thirty days that she trains in a cabin in Chiang Mai.

Despite how much time and footage is spent on the training sequences, this is really a film about a girl’s relationship with her father. The documentary format allows for insights as to what each thinks of the other and their relationship. It also becomes clear that this relationship is what eventually colours Chantal’s perceptions on what love is and the role that violence in its definition. Her relationships with the German musician, the Thai fighter and even her decision to get into Muay Thai all begin to show a pattern.

In an anti-Hollywood move, there is no attempt to make Chantal sexy in this documentary: practical training clothes, no makeup, covered in sweat, stringy hair, perpetually hunched over as she trains. These shots of are juxtaposed against the pictures and found footage from her previous lives as a fashion model, actress and singer, where she is more acceptably beautiful. Perhaps it is this which makes Chantal difficult to identify with as a character, but as her mother says with heart-breaking honesty, “Chantal was quite unpleasant as a child.” There are no pretences in presenting Chantal as a flawless heroin, or anything other than what she is.

The director continues to break big movie laws in the pacing. If you’re used to Hollywood pacing, prepare to be disappointed. This documentary can be agonisingly slow, and at times painfully introverted. However, if you take her spiritual adviser’s advice to Chantal, “You need to persevere with what you’re doing… You need to improve your concentration,” you’ll find a gem of a film, a story that challenges you to reconsider what is important and whether the pursuit and achievement of big goals actually bring about happiness.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ (Worth Watching)

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