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France, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Pascal Deux

Noble Art could be a contender to step into the ring with the Muhammad Ali doco When We Were Kings as one of the few boxing documentaries to be of interest to those who usually find the sport a bloody mess of male ego. This candid film traces an unlikely comeback of Fabrice Benichou, a one-time world champion, now a languishing, almost forgotten, star. Motivated by his need for money as much as the desire to regain his faded glory, Benichou enters the ring carrying his own particular agendas and demons. Accompanying him for two years, documaker Pascal Deux filmed the daily life of a man coming to grips with his doubts and contradictions. Counter to the goal of boxing the last man standing in the ring, Benichou's journey leads him to realise that the object of a quest is less important that the quest itself.

"It's not the opponents who scare me. It's myself, scared I would not perform, or take a punch I should never have taken. But do I have the faith and the strength to carry on as in my younger days? I had the spirit, the desire and the rage when I was young." - Fabrice Benichou, boxer

Pascal Deux (born in Lyon, France) spent many years as an assistant director before directing his own feature films. Prior to Noble Art, he made two short films, Constance (1989) and Soigneurs dehors (1995).

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