Using boxing gloves and frequently his Mohawk as a paintbrush, Ushio Shinohara exploded onto the 1970s New York art scene. His cutting-edge work was classified as “action art” and gained much attention. During this career peak he met and fell in love with Noriko, an art student who became his assistant and later his wife. Over the years, his work garnered praise but little financial success. Now, decades later, the couple struggles to pay the rent. Ushio keeps making action art and seems trapped in the past. Noriko, like her work, is evolving and growing as she creates new paintings centered on her autobiographical characters named Cutie and Bullie.
Zachary Heinzerling’s patient observational style allows viewers an immersive experience to witness the couple’s daily struggles and celebrations. Into this narrative, Heinzerling braids tender memories from home movies with stark animation of Cutie and Bullie’s prickly relationship to reveal a complicated working relationship and moving love story.
ZACHARY HEINZERLING has worked on several features for HBO, including three Emmy-winning documentaries, and was selected for the Emerging Visions Program at the 2011 New York Film Festival. His films have received grants from the Tribeca Film Institute®, Cinereach, San Francisco Film Society and Jerome Foundation. He is based in Brooklyn.
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