The Good Fight (2017) REVIEW – A Powerful Short Documentary


Beyond the lavish tourist sights that Rio de Janerio displays, Brazil is impoverished beyond belief. Enter the favela, or slum, on the outside of the ornate city, as Ben Holman cornerstones Alan Duarte’s life within his short film. There are no shots of the colorful events of the carnival, or the trademark Christ the Redeemer spreading arms wide with reassurance. Beija Films exposes and documents the violent, unruly environment through the eyes of Duarte as he brings boxing to the most poverty-stricken and helpless, with hopes to redeem a community one fight at a time.

The film is translated from Portuguese and English subtitles bridge the language gap. Durante explains that his family has fallen victim to drug trafficking and gun violence, which had taken nine of his family members, including his brother. To cope with loss and grief, he turns to the sport of boxing.

The Good Fight focuses on the shift of behavior and morale in those who have been stricken in the same likeliness of Duarte. “I didn’t have to follow the path I was on,” Durate said, as he understands the realization that he can indeed make the difference he strives for, and hopes that his story is “a beautiful one.”

The Good Fight illustrates, in the words of Durante, a beautiful story in a mere fifteen-minute period of time. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous as the outskirts of the city are flattered with stunning establishing shots, or supplementary b-roll that accentuates the documentary. There is a pattern of raw emotion as Duante speaks even more in-depth about his own background and the lack of his own father figure. The boxing club serves as a family of his own. At times, Duante is referred to as “Father Alan.” His impact knows no bounds as every man, woman, and child that takes up boxing is given the potential for a greater life. In one scene, a young adolescent mother admits that she openly detested her pregnancy, though after finding her way while boxing, is now willing to give everything to her daughter.

One man’s journey has unleashed the utter power to change the lives of others who need it most. Passion results in an incredible change, and the ripple effect is tremendous. The “fight” club allows salvation as he outreaches to his community of Complexo de Alemao and encourages the alternative to street life with recreational sports instead. He stands as an activist against murder and violence, finding his own release through boxing.

The punches aren’t the only thing packed into this documentary. The aspect of human emotion is more than relevant as the reality of second-world citizenship is faced. Despite the original apprehensiveness form his mother, he doesn’t slow his drive as he spreads hope and positivity to those who are in need of it most. The Good Fight defines the hope that is brought to the hopeless. It emphasizes that there is still good in the world, and that even the most heartbreaking of hardships can be mended by a bond.

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