Boxing on Film at Sag Harbor Cinema - 27 East

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Boxing on Film at Sag Harbor Cinema

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Robert DeNiro in a scene from Martin Scorsese’s film

Robert DeNiro in a scene from Martin Scorsese’s film "Raging Bull." PARK CIRCUS

Buster Keaton stars in the 1926 boxing film “Battling Butler.” COHEN ARCHIVES

Buster Keaton stars in the 1926 boxing film “Battling Butler.” COHEN ARCHIVES

A scene from Fred Wiseman’s 2010 film “Boxing Gym.” ZIPPORAH FILMS

A scene from Fred Wiseman’s 2010 film “Boxing Gym.” ZIPPORAH FILMS

A scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1951 short film, “Day of the Fight.” COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

A scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1951 short film, “Day of the Fight.” COURTESY SAG HARBOR CINEMA

authorStaff Writer on Jun 4, 2023

Celebrating the movies’ long-held fascination with boxing, Sag Harbor Cinema will host a series of screenings in conjunction with The Church’s exhibition, “Strike Fast, Dance Lightly: Artists on Boxing,” running June 24 to September 3.

“I was thrilled when [co-curators] Sara Cochran and Eric Fischl asked if I may be interested in creating a film program that would parallel The Church’s ‘Strike Fast, Dance Lightly’ art show,” said Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, the cinema’s founding artistic director. “Movement and conflict being at the very essence of cinema, boxing has always been a natural subject for film. Its beauty and its dread, as well as its dramatic, psychological, social and political implications have inspired a rich and fascinating portion of cinematic history. I also love the sport.”

Kicking off the summer-long program on Friday, June 23, will be the new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative of Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.” The film’s producer, Irwin Winkler (who is also the producer of the “Rocky” and “Creed” franchises), will appear for a live Zoom Q&A following the 6 p.m. screening, Sunday June 25. “Raging Bull” stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta in a biographical film that won both De Niro and longtime editor for Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Academy Awards. It is widely considered one of Scorsese’s best films and has long been praised for its innovative cinematography.

Silent stars often ventured into the ring. Among them is Buster Keaton, in “Battling Butler” (1926), which will be shown on Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23, as part of the Kids and Families Matinees program. Keaton — also directing this adaptation of a famous stage play — brings his signature physical comedy to the plot of a pampered, wealthy man who pretends to be a champion boxer to win over the family of the girl he loves. Recently restored by Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection, “Battling Butler” will be shown with a score composed by Robert Israel.

Also part of the opening week of the program will be Fred Wiseman’s “Boxing Gym” (2010), an exploration of the daily life of a boxing gym in Austin, Texas. Known for his documentaries about dance, Wiseman captures the kinetic beauty of the sport as he documents its function in a community’s everyday life. Paired with the 90 minute film will be Stanley Kubrick’s short, “Day of the Fight” (1951) from his days as a photojournalist at Look magazine. The debut film was shot and funded by Kubrick, who documented the day of a fight through the eyes of middleweight Walter Cartier at the height of his career.

The boxing program will run through the summer, spanning different genres and eras, such as the gritty noir of 1940s boxing films like Robert Wise’s “The Set Up” (1949); Italian neorealism (Luchino Visconti’s 1960s film “Rocco e i suoi fratelli” — “Rocco and His Brothers”), indies (Karyn Kusama’s 2000’s film “Girlfight”), documentaries as well as films by Clint Eastwood and Michael Mann.

Sag Harbor Cinema is at 90 Main Street, Sag Harbor. For more information, visit

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