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:: Lionel

Lionel Rose goes down in Australian history as the first Aboriginal boxer to win a World Title. This documentary is a thorough and absorbing feature into the eventful life - sporting and personal - of the Melbourne boxing champ that combines commentaries with Lionel and his friends, backed with extensive archival footage.

The film screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2008 and was well received. It is an insightful journey by director Eddie Martin, the film exploring how Lionel became a much-loved sporting figure and his struggle with the dimensions of that status in his everyday life.

In 1968, the 19-year-old young boxer with a charming smile punched his way into history when he beat Fighting Harada in Japan over fifteen rounds. Lionel had become the undisputed World Bantamweight champion. 250,000 people hit the streets of Melbourne to welcome him back in a street parade in the city centre and he went on to become a symbolic figure in the interracial politics of the times.

The long sequences showing Lionel Rose fighting, being interviewed and being adored by huge crowds, provide the most valuable insights into his impact as an historical figure, implicitly demonstrating how his astonishing celebrity and marriage to a white woman represented a breakthrough in the public's acceptance of indigenous people.

The account of his life after retirement is more sobering, putting a critical light on Rose's relationship with his own people and his ability to handle success. Lionel shows to be a laidback kind of guy, his trainers were decent men who looked after him, and his family and friends all keep a level head. He laughs at the memory of singing (Lionel had a number 1 hit song "Thank You) but the film also takes a look at what his relaxed attitude did for his boxing career, with his trainer speaking frankly about how hard it was to get him to train and keep his weight down when he was preparing for fights later in his career.

This is how Lionel Rose became a national hero, its aftermath, and how he remains relatively untouched by the experience. “Lionel” is a genuinely well made documentary presented with care and honesty.

In a special treat for his fans, the second disc contains four of Lionel Rose's bouts in full.

DVD Extras

  • Limited Edition Digipak Packaging
* Bonus Disc contains four historical Lionel Rose matches presented in full - Lionel Rose vs Fighting Harada Tokyo February 26 1968 - Lionel Rose vs Takao Sakurai Tokyo July 2 1968 - Lionel Rose vs Chucho Castillo Los Angeles December 6 1968 - Lionel Rose vs Vicente Garcia Melbourne November 1 1969