Saturday, January 26, 2008

Russian Bull

“Greatest Jewish Fighter Since Samson!” a banner announces in Orthodox Stance, a sweet little film for the sweet science, a fascinating documentary that follows the Orthodox Jewish, Russian immigrant, professional boxer Dmitriy Salita as he navigates the seemingly disparate worlds that make up his life. From a Chabad Synagogue in Brooklyn, to the Black- and Latino-filled Starrett City Boxing Gym in East New York, to the fake glamor of the Las Vegas ringside, director Jason Hutt has crafted a no-frills, no-nonsense sports movie that is less about left jabs and right hooks than it is about the American Dream. As Dmitriy’s rabbi puts it, “His message is that no career should ever convince you that it’s a contradiction to religion.” Such simple words form a radical idea coming from a pugilist who escaped the anti-Semitism of Odessa, Ukraine as a kid.

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