Veteran Australian editor Jill Bilcock (Dogs in Space, Evil Angels, Muriel's Wedding, Moulin Rouge, The Dressmaker, and many more) finally gets her due in a new documentary. We caught up with director Axel Grigor to cut to the heart of the matter.
Jemma van Loenen’s documentary introduces audiences to Bianca ‘Bam Bam’ Elmir, a young boxer from Canberra, on her quest to win a World Boxing Championship.
Elmir is a determined fighter who will let nothing get in her way. A Lebanese Muslim, who has won multiple Australian and International Championships, Elmir faces many obstacles – getting her family’s approval, the views of her community, opponents in the ring, among others. Elmir at one point is barred from fighting, due to a drugs ban.
Despite her unorthodox nature, and the odds stacked against her, the boxer revels in victory.
Winning supersedes everything. This is what she does it for. To stand victorious.
Elmir’s an individual who thrives on smashing expectations: she takes part in a Muslim Mardi Gras Event; her coach tells her not to go out and drink, she goes out until 4am; she enters a match a significant underdog, and wins handily.
She has no issues reflecting on, and savouring the gory blood of her opponent, and subverting her family’s expectations.
She relishes the fear in her opponent’s eyes, that moment before they receive the knockout punch.
But despite all her victories and tenacity, at the end of the day, Elmir doesn’t quite know how to deal with herself when she’s not fighting. This is what the documentary is about – identity and the subject’s life away from sport. Her biggest fight is within herself.
Elmir’s coach talks about the qualities of the boxer, how she gives back to the community. Unfortunately, at times this feels like a lecture.
Cinematographers William Sheridan and Stephen Ramplin provide intimate footage of the athlete’s struggle, capturing this flight.
Director Jemma van Loenen ultimately serves up an absorbing story of an athlete dedicated to their sport, a portrait of an individual fighting for, and fighting against herself.