Last Updated 28 May 2020

Boxing as a Metaphor

Category Boxing
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A film perhaps, could be considered as one of the most powerful medium in the field of communication. Creativity, per se, is a major factor in coming up with this kind of output. Not everyone is entitled that sense of creativity and at the same time, substance that would cater a “must-see” movie for all. Also, in coming up with a film, a film maker has all the means to incorporate underlying themes or messages in the film being produced.

Some of the film makers have been successful in using this techniques, some, meanwhile, were not able to make their audience realize that their movies had something say beyond the denotative objects and situations in the film. Two of the films which incorporated metaphors or underlying themes on it are: Triumph of the Spirit and the Boxer and Death. The two mainly focused on the life of the protagonists with relation to boxing. Boxing was used as a form of metaphor in the said films. Triumph of the Spirit: An Overview

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The Triumph of the Spirit was based on a true story of a boxer which took place during a Holocaust; it was released in 1989. Directed by Robert Young, it was the first ever film to be shot in the death camp of Auschwitz. Every detail was vividly shown in the film. Every detail was presented accurately—from the bread thrown into their dinner plates up to the wooden shoes that were worn by the prisoners. The movie is a true story focused on an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate named Salmo Arouch. Salmo, who was a boxing champion, was forced to be involved in a series of boxing bouts which tallied 200 win-or-die contests.

“BOXING AS A METAPHOR” PAGE#2 The contest was conceptualized by the camp’s guards as they see it as a form of entertainment. The movie was set during the Holocaust of the Second World War which can be considered as one of the darkest parts of the modern history. The movie was made in the superlative description of authenticity. The film was basically about a boxer named Salamo (played by William Dafoe). He was a Greek Jew who was sent to Auschwitz who almost died in the hands of the Nazi who captured him. He did not die as the Nazi learned that he was a champion boxer.

The Nazi captors, seeking for some sort of entertainment, set a Boxing match, wherein Salamo won. The boxing matches continued with money involved. At least once a week, the Nazi captors would gather to drink and eat and also to watch their prisoners pound one another. Salamo was stuck in a very difficult situation. He would accidentally kill his opponent during bouts, or else, he himself would die. One of the camp’s gypsy prisoners (played by Edward James Olmos) appeared to be a fixer who would engage himself in a black market mainly focused on persuasion and bribery.

Later, he became involved in Salamo’s plan to save his father in the prison. Unfortunately, the name of Salamo’s father was included in the list of those who would soon disappear. And when Salamo asked him if there anything that he could do to save his father, he merely replied, “Nothing, unless someone can be found to take his place. ” “BOXING AS A METAPHOR” PAGE#3 The next predictable scene was that Salamo offered himself to replace his father. He volunteered that his name be included in the list of those who would soon disappear instead of his father.

But he never really pushed through his plan. Only a few of the detainees of the Nazi captors managed to survive the Holocaust. Of course, many of them just chose to die instead of enduring the pain of the torture that had happened. But those who did not want to die, died anyway. Salamo managed to survive the Holocaust for he won enough fights during the “boxing contests. ” The title of the movie was dubbed as “The Triumph of the Spirit. ” Where did the concept of triumph become evident in the film? Salamo received his own triumph in the expense of his opponents.

Another flaw that could be inferred in the movie is that it never really “introduced” the other characters—not even those who had significant roles. They were not even given their respective names. Basically, Triumph of the Spirit showed the horrors that can be inferred from the Holocaust part of the Second World War. Triumph of the Spirit: Boxing as a Metaphor Although boxing was not really the focus of the film, boxing was used to convey underlying themes and messages by the film maker. Salmo was a boxer during one of the darkest stages of the modern history.

The story evolved on repression and abuse that happened among the prisoners perpetuated by the Nazi. “BOXING AS A METAPHOR” PAGE#4 The understanding of the film would entail a lot of creativity and a deeper comprehension of what was really the main point of the film. Basically, the main and obvious theme of the movie was “survival of the fittest. ” “Survival of the fittest” would best describe that 200 win-or-die contest. The concentration camp appeared to be a place where you have only two choices—to continue to live or to accept death.

That is, if you are strong enough to beat and “kill” your fellow inmates. Boxing appeared to be a manifestation of the cruelty and brutality that happened in the concentration camp. The movie also reflected a significant part of the history where the detainees of the Nazi captors had to go through all the hardship that the circumstance had to offer. Disappointingly, the movie also portrayed an individualist theme. In order for Salamo to survive he had to “unintentionally kill” his opponents who were also his co-inmates. Those who would not win the bouts were subjected to execution.

The movie also assumed that the viewers were already oriented of the basics of the Holocaust. Boxing represents the struggles that the characters had to go through. Despite the flaws that could be observed in the film, the film maker was creative enough to use boxing as a metaphor in the movie. Boxing, aside from the struggles, could also signify as a defense mechanism against the Nazi captors. Boxing was portrayed as something which could save one’s life. In the case of Salamo, boxing became his “breathing apparatus. ” “BOXING AS A METAPHOR” PAGE#5

If not because of boxing, he might have died and his bouts did not reach to 200. Amazing how the film maker was able to come up with a metaphor that the viewers could dwell into. In life, just like in boxing, we have to get up whenever we are punched down. We have to maximize all the means that we have for us to survive. Ironically, the opponents of Salamo perhaps signified the hardships and problems that he had during the Holocaust era. Although quite inhumane, the bouts represented his winning over the predicaments that he had to face. His knowledge about boxing—or life rather—made him survive all of these.

Boxing as a Metaphor essay

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