Why you should watch 'Never Be a Punching Bag for Nobody' this weekend
Naomi Yang’s film ‘Never Be a Punching Bag for Nobody’ is getting a streaming presentation in association with UK magazine UNCUT. It will be available for 48 hours from Friday 16th June. The price is $15 (or £11.93), and here’s why I think its worth that!
I was lucky enough to get a preview of the film, ahead of its screening as part of the Boston Independent Film Festival back in May and I’ve been trying to write about it since but somehow my words couldn’t really get across just how moving I found it - but… here are my words anyway!
The film describes Naomi’s unexpected journey into boxing at a gym near Logan Airport in East Boston, and through that tells stories of personal and social change, and of local and environmental activism.
It’s beautifully paced and, as you’d expect if you’ve encountered any of Naomi’s previous forays into motion pictures, stunning to look at. The camera almost never moves it just lets the natural motion of the environment draw you in. It reminded me of the documentary films of Agnes Varda, both she and Naomi have an interest in the lives of ordinary people, of the marginalised, and use film as a tool to try and inspire social change, or at least social awareness.
The film weaves together a number of strands: Naomi’s accidental induction into boxing; her own family history and her relationship with her father; the expansion of Boston’s Logan airport, and the careless neglect of the humanity and the environment that it involved;
The film is punctuated with archive footage (keep an eye out for a secret message to Galaxie 500 fans), photos, and newspaper cuttings and is wonderfully researched and told with the help of the fascinating people she found to interview.
It is definitely also worth mentioning the stunning sound design of the film by Ian Coss who previously worked on Damon’s Ways of Hearing podcast. The film sounds just as lovely as it looks - with spacious natural sound underlaid with the beautiful music Naomi composed and performed.
Pre order the stream here and try and get it on as big a screen as you can manage. And turn it up loud!
And if you haven’t encountered Agnes Varda I’d suggest hunting down The Gleaners and I.