Shô Miyake’s semi-fictional adaptation of Keiko Ogasawara’s memoir Makenaide! is a delicate study of deafness in the context of an amateur boxing community.
Keiko, a hotel cleaner by day, spends her evenings training with her trainer in his shabby gym in suburban Tokyo. After surprising everyone by winning her first two professional fights, something even more unexpected happens, changing Keiko’s psyche and the cadence of her movements.
Kishii is brilliant as the stern, introspective and determined Keiko, while Tomokazu Miura ably conveys the stoicism of her mentor.
Shot on sensuous 16mm, this is a unique boxing film that is less focused on victory in the ring and more concerned with the quiet but genuinely dramatic arc of Keiko’s journey.