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:: Beautiful Boxer

Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, Beautiful Boxer might not exactly be what you think. But then, what preconceived notions would a viewer have when they expect to see a movie that is about a Thai boxer’s dream to have a sex changes, “he fights so that he can become a girl?”

Shocking as this concept may seem, Uekrongtham’s film is more gently expressed than we have seen in a movie for a long time.

The film is about Tong Noon’s quest to be a woman, and it illustrates, through a clever disjointed chronological sequence, how a young Buddhist monk mediating in natural surroundings can grow to be a young man fuelled on testosterone as at boxing training camp to a professional boxer who dresses as pretty girl.

The character of Tong Noon (played by professional Thai kick boxer, Asanee Suwan), is complex. He is a character who script-writers’ dream about, a protagonist whose emotions, feelings and sexuality are displayed so intricately, subtly and then boldly.

A flirtatious nature emerges from this insecure boy. Taunted for his early childhood tendencies of wearing lip-stick, he is bullied and then finally realises his deep rooted desire to dress like a woman, ultimately be a woman, and he embraces it, slowly. The film then is his, rather her, journey to self development. With the help of boxing, bullying becomes a thing of the past.

Beautiful Boxer is the antithesis of any Rocky movie. It substitutes Stallone’s brawn for self development, in the most gracefully done and touching foreign films of recent years. Graceful scenes of the ancient ritual of Thai boxing present the sport stylishly.

This internationally renowned film is touching without the cliché. A controversial subject matter tastefully presented, Beautiful Boxer must be seen to appreciated. Only then can one witness the mildness of it, set amongst in the bubbling brooks of lush Thailand where costumed, smiling women slowly dance and even boxing can be graceful.

Unusually inspiring, this film explores the concept of bullying and assertion of one’s individuality- If even a bullied young cross dressing transvestite can overcome his taunting demons, emotionally and physically, to rise up to be one of Thailand’s best boxers, then surely a viewer of Beautiful Boxer should leave their prejudice at the door when they see it.

DVD Extras

• “Open The Eye” - Interactive selection of Behind The Scenes footage during the feature
• Documentary: In The Ring With Beautiful Boxer
• Making Of Featurette
• Cast & Crew Interviews
• Original Trailers
• Stills Gallery