Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2000
USA: Screen Gems
UK: Columbia Pictures
Cast: Michelle Rodriguez, Ray Santiago, Jaime Tirelli, Elisa Bocanegra, Santiago Douglas, Paul Calderon, Shannon Walker Williams, Iris Little, Thomas John Sayles, Thomas Barbour
Director: Karyn Kusama
Country: USA
USA: 110 mins
UK: 112 mins
USA Rated: R for language
UK Certificate: 15 for strong language and sex references
USA Release Date: 29 September 2000
UK Release Date: 20 April 2001


Nothing comes easy for Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez), a troubled girl on the brink of womanhood. Her teachers don't understand her, her father underestimates her and her friends are few. Diana struggles to find respect and dignity every day. She 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 discovers 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 Sandro hired 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 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.

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