Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Tyson At Cannes

I had no idea!

A documentary on former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson, premiered at the currently ongoing Cannes Film Festival, and the man himself was present for the screening, and press frenzy that followed.

The documentary was made by filmmaker, James Toback, responsible for some lesser known films like 1999's Black & White, and 1997's Two Girls and a Guy. He also wrote the screenplay for Bugsy, likely his most well-known film, for which he was nominated for an Oscar, although he didn't direct it.

Interestingly, Toback financed the Tyson film himself. Obviously he must have really wanted to make it. According to an interview with the L.A. Times, he said that he was compelled to do the film about a man he's known for 23 years because "there is an ongoing sense of drama about him. He is a man of contradictions and complexities, able to surprise you moment by moment... a balance of fragility and rage."

The reviews for the documentary since the screening at Cannes last week, have been all strong, from those I've read. According to the L.A. Times, Toback said he was taken aback by the intense crowd reaction to the film when it was screened at Cannes on Friday night, calling it an overwhelming spectacle.

From The Hollywood Reporter review of the film: Tyson found Islam in prison; and he's been through rehabilitation. Now, he says, his anger is directed only toward himself. "I'm not an animal anymore," he says in his high-pitched lisp staring at the camera through a dramatic Maori facial tattoo.

The film is to be released in later this year, although I couldn't find any info on who its distributor is.

Here's a video clip of Tyson at the Cannes reception on Friday night.

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  1. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    I read about this over the weekend and, especially having now seen the clip, I must say there's something quite sad yet redeeming about him.

    I get the feeling it'll be picked up for TV broadcast rather than for theatrical release, but what do I know...?

  2. The Obenson Report said...

    Catching up on your Obenson Report entries I see... you should tune in more often... it'll save you time :o)

    I think it'll get picked up as well. I just can't say where it'll end up. I don't think most people state-side even know about it. But this Toback guy is said to be well-respected, so who knows whom he might be cozing up with to get the film in theatres. At worst, I see an HBO-type pick-up.

  3. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    LOL! It's funny, I visit the blog after a couple of days' absence and I'm like, 'Jeez, Tambini's been posting like a fiend!' How many days did I miss...?

    Anyways, I don't think most people here knew about it either - it was never mentioned in any of the pre-Cannes articles I read.

    Yeah, I reckon HBO is a likelihood; Channel4 over here in the UK.

    Isn't it passed your bedtime...?


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