Girlfight (2000) - Synopsis

Girlfight (2000)

Writer/director Karyn Kusama makes an incendiary feature debut with "Girlfight," a fierce rites of passage story about a quick-tempered young woman who finds discipline, self-respect and love in the most unlikely place- a boxing ring. Winner of the Best Directing Award and a shared Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, "Girlfight" stars newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas.

Trouble comes too easily for Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez). A sullen, brooding teenager, she has a chip on her shoulder and spends her senior year in high school getting into fights with anyone who's willing- and most are not.

Diana doesn't know how to control her anger, and more importantly, she doesn't care. Living in the Brooklyn projects of Red Hook with her dismissive father Sandro (Paul Calderon) and younger brother Tiny (Ray Santiago), Diana witnesses generations of families who never move beyond the confines of their small world. She has nothing to lose - or gain - by not controlling her violent temper. For Diana, it's hit or be hit, and she'd much rather be the one packing the punch.

Sent on an errand for her father one day, Diana is introduced to the secret world of boxing at a gym in Brooklyn. Looking around at the determined fighters glistening with sweat and purpose, she knows she has finally found a place where she truly belongs.

Diana begins training in secret with Hector (Jaime Tirelli), a coach at the Brooklyn gym whom Sandro had paid to teach Tiny how to box. But it is Diana who relishes the work Through weeks of strenuous training, she slowly learns to control her temper and channel her strength. For the first time in her life, she has found something that makes sense.

Soon she is competing against other featherweights - male and female- and gaining momentum as a true contender. Complications inevitably follow when her friendship with fellow boxer Adrian (Santiago Douglas) blossoms into a sweet, tentative romance.

As Diana builds physical strength and endurance, she becomes more self-assured and ultimately, confident enough to allow herself to become vulnerable- a burden that weighs heavily on her as she prepares for the most important fight of her life.

Drenched in sweat, emotion and attitude, "Girlfight" is a riveting testament to a new femininity for the next century.

Screen Gems and the Independent Film Channel Productions present "Girlfight," a Green/Renzi production. The producing debut of Martha Griffin, "Girlfight" was also produced by Sarah Green and Maggie Renzi of Green/Renzi. "Girlfight" was executive produced by John Sayles, in addition to Jonathan Sehring and Caroline Kaplan of the Independent Film Channel. Cast by Maria E. Nelson and Ellyn Long Marshall, "Girlfight" was shot by Patrick Cady and edited by Plummy Tucker. Stephen Beatrice served as production designer, and Theodore Shapiro composed the accompanying score.