BOXING GYM (Frederick Wiseman) is, like all Wiseman films, a very simple (and yet oh so complex!) portrait of a social structure. In this case, it’s a boxing gym in Austin, Texas. First of all, it made me want to take up boxing. Minus the getting hit in the face part. And then it made me want to go make a movie. I am constantly reminded when I watch great documentary filmmakers that your story is usually not fancy. Your story is/should be right there in front of you. So park your ass (and your camera) and just let it unfold, for god’s sake.
And of course that’s Wiseman’s brilliance.
In the brief Q&A after the film, someone asked him what sound equipment he used. His answer? “I use a Sennheiser 416 mic attached to this stick called a boom pole. And I’m attached to the other end of that.” I love that sort of simplicity. And complexity.