Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Buffalo Girls

This relatively even-handed look at the Thai young-girl boxing craze likely will incite some heated opposition.

Nov 14, 2012

-By Michael Rechtshaffen


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367258-Buffalo_Girls_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It would appear that not every eight-year-old girl is all about Barbies and purple unicorns. For Stam and Pet, the two young Thai subjects in the provocative documentary Buffalo Girls, recreation means facing off against each other in a boxing ring in pursuit of winning the national Muay Thai championship and a life-changing cash prize.

They’re among the nation’s estimated 30,000 child boxers competing in a centuries-old sport that recently has become trendy for wagering on young female combatants who aren’t required to wear protective headgear and whose tender limbs are often subject to broken bones.

But, as first-time long-form director Todd Kellstein discovers, a practice that would understandably come across as disturbingly exploitative from a Western POV grows more complicated when taken in the harsh socioeconomic context of rural Thai life. Destined to provoke discussion, the low-key production isn’t as sensational as its subject matter, but it nevertheless could make a splash.

Outside of the ring, Stam and Pet appear to be happy, well-adjusted little girls, despite their impoverished surroundings. When asked why they’re drawn to Muay Thai kickboxing, they each instantly speak of the money that would help their respective families.

Working out for long hours with professional trainers, their regimen is rigorous, even though Pet, born with a heart defect, bears a prominent scar on her chest from the surgery she had several years earlier. Her proud parents, who, like other families, place bets on their daughter’s bouts, contend that boxing has made her healthier.

Of course, their final, big-ticket matchup will yield one winner and one loser, and no matter which side of the equation Stam and Pet end up on, the pressures and emotional stakes remain awfully high where little girls are concerned, whatever their cultural circumstances.
The Hollywood Reporter



Film Review: Buffalo Girls

This relatively even-handed look at the Thai young-girl boxing craze likely will incite some heated opposition.

Nov 14, 2012

-By Michael Rechtshaffen


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367258-Buffalo_Girls_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It would appear that not every eight-year-old girl is all about Barbies and purple unicorns. For Stam and Pet, the two young Thai subjects in the provocative documentary Buffalo Girls, recreation means facing off against each other in a boxing ring in pursuit of winning the national Muay Thai championship and a life-changing cash prize.

They’re among the nation’s estimated 30,000 child boxers competing in a centuries-old sport that recently has become trendy for wagering on young female combatants who aren’t required to wear protective headgear and whose tender limbs are often subject to broken bones.

But, as first-time long-form director Todd Kellstein discovers, a practice that would understandably come across as disturbingly exploitative from a Western POV grows more complicated when taken in the harsh socioeconomic context of rural Thai life. Destined to provoke discussion, the low-key production isn’t as sensational as its subject matter, but it nevertheless could make a splash.

Outside of the ring, Stam and Pet appear to be happy, well-adjusted little girls, despite their impoverished surroundings. When asked why they’re drawn to Muay Thai kickboxing, they each instantly speak of the money that would help their respective families.

Working out for long hours with professional trainers, their regimen is rigorous, even though Pet, born with a heart defect, bears a prominent scar on her chest from the surgery she had several years earlier. Her proud parents, who, like other families, place bets on their daughter’s bouts, contend that boxing has made her healthier.

Of course, their final, big-ticket matchup will yield one winner and one loser, and no matter which side of the equation Stam and Pet end up on, the pressures and emotional stakes remain awfully high where little girls are concerned, whatever their cultural circumstances.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Tracks
Film Review: Tracks

Ably supported by Adam Driver, Mia Wasikowska commands the screen in John Curran’s superbly photographed drama based on a true story. More »

Hollidaysburg
Film Review: Hollidaysburg

Well-observed, empathetic look at friends reuniting over their first college break. More »

The Zero Theorem
Film Review: The Zero Theorem

A noisy, hyperkinetic, visually gorgeous spectacle that tackles the mother of all big questions–the meaning of life—Terry Gilliam's latest is sometimes frustrating and occasionally outright goofy, but it's never dull. More »

Art and Craft
Film Review: Art and Craft

Documentary portrait of the artist as a disturbed man, but one who is overwhelmingly endearing, functioning and talented—and whose métier happens to be art forgery. This smartly produced and constructed art-themed art-house entry delivers a canvas of caper, comedy and delightful curiosities that engage and provoke some serious thought. Like the hero’s forgeries, it deserves a close look. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Maze Runner
Film Review: The Maze Runner

Youths try to break out of a deadly maze in the latest young-adult doomsday thriller. More »

This is Where I Leave You
Film Review: This Is Where I Leave You

Siblings bond, fight and face new problems after the death of their father in an ensemble dramedy based on the best-selling novel. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here