A boxer finds himself ascending in Barcelona’s underground boxing scene, winning fight after fight at night.
But as he grows more and more obsessed with winning, he begins to neglect his relationship and his future. As his arrogance and sense of power grows — and as his success begins to reshape him and his values — he makes one key mistake, only to lose everything truly valuable to him.
The Gasser brothers — twins Marco and Fabio — have created a kinetic, involving short drama that takes place in a secretive, violent milieu, and one of the most striking aspects of their film is how beautifully their visuals match the subject matter.
Shadowy, gritty and yet full of a brutal beauty, the camerawork and cinematography work together to convey the tension and adrenaline of boxing. As lead actor Juanma Chacon bobs and weaves through the interplay of dark and light, cheered on by the crowds, we see how boxing — and a growing sense of power — becomes almost like a narcotic to the boxer.
Shot equally beautifully, though, are vignettes from the boxer’s life with his sweetheart, played by Lorena Franco. Whether shot by the ocean or in the woods, the visual poetry that captures the domestic and romantic elements of the film also make clear exactly what the boxer neglects, and eventually loses.
Boxing as a sport has long captivated filmmakers with its inherently intense direct conflict and its emotionally combustive combination of rage and ambition, and the Gasser Brothers have created a short that sits firmly in a tradition that also includes venerable cinematic giants like Martin Scorsese. And like Scorsese, they attack their story with a visceral energy, though they also bring a sense of elegy and poetry to what is essentially a romantic tragedy. “Beloved Stranger” takes us to a place most people may never venture to, but it touches on the common danger of failing to see and appreciate what you have, until it’s too late.