All posts tagged: Never Be a Punching Bag for Nobody

Review: Never Be A Punching Bag For Nobody




The poster for "Never Be a Punching Bog for Nobody." The top two thirds show a strip of film split three ways between half of director Naomi Yang's face, an airport runway, and a boxing gym. Underneath is the title of the film in modern cursive. Just above, a small airplane doodle takes off above the words "A film by Naomi Yang."

Sometimes visiting a new neighborhood can change your life. While scouting locations for a fashion shoot, filmmaker Naomi Yang happened upon a boxing gym in East Boston. The modest second-generation family business, with its sparring ring and wall of framed black-and-white photographs depicting local boxers, seemed like a great backdrop. Unfortunately, the gym’s owner and head coach, Sal Bartolo, Jr., disagreed, citing aprevious photo shoot that had gone badly, with high heels destroying his mats. There would be no fashion shoots in his gym. Instead, he gave Yang his pitch to all visitors, telling her to come back for a free boxing lesson. In voiceover, Yang confides to us that she did not take the offer seriously and didn’t plan to return. And yet, a few weeks later, she did. Part of her was holding out hope that Bartolo would change his mind. But another part felt drawn to boxing, and Bartolo’s gym would soon become the center of her life. Yang’s documentary tells the story of how this chance meeting at a boxing gym brought her into a deeper understanding of herself, and of the ways bullying forces can leave their mark on places as well as people. 

Review: Never Be A Punching Bag For Nobody