Rarely does a documentary dare to bring audiences inside the intimate space between an artist and a long-standing/long-suffering muse. In the case of Zachary Heinzerling’s directing debut Cutie and the Boxer, the artist is Ushio Shinohara, a famous boxing painter and current New York resident who has been married for 40 years to Noriko, his assistant during this time who, it seems, has decided to go in search of her own identity beyond the shadow of her husband.
That Ushio reportedly has an overbearing personality only adds to the stirring rah-rah element inherent in the narrative. Opens Sept. 20 at Esquire Theatre. (R) Not screened in time for review