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If you’re hoping for a frilly film about gypsy weddings, you’re in for a shock. This is a raw, no-holds-barred look at the gypsy tradition of sorting arguments by bare-knuckle fighting and the general violence that underscores traveller culture. Toddlers strike boxing poses while seven-year-old boys are encouraged to join in violent pursuits such as cock fighting.
Although Leo Maguire has shot this in an almost hauntingly beautiful style at times, it’s still a bloody, coarse film about gypsy masculinity and a viciously brutal way of life that is anathema to most of us.
documentary following two Traveller families and their bare-knuckle fighting traditions, revealing the violence that can erupt as they battle for respect in their communities. Romany gypsy Fred Butcher nearly dies in a machete attack when a day of drinking and sparring goes horribly wrong, while seven-year-old Francie Doherty is caught between learning to read and write at school, and being taught to fight with his fists at home.
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