Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2020, Page: 81-88
Raging Bull: A Story of Physical and Psychological Self-destruction in Boxing
Arturo Leyva, Department of Teaching and Learning, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, The United States; Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, The United States
Received: Aug. 12, 2020;       Accepted: Oct. 5, 2020;       Published: Oct. 26, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ajss.20200804.11      View  63      Downloads  41
Abstract
This paper proposes a new reading of Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film Raging Bull. It departs from established academic interpretations that focus on the main protagonist, the former middleweight champion, Jake LaMotta, and his toxic or overtly violent masculinity. Instead, while such interpretations touch upon important aspects of the film, the common claim by philosophy of film scholars that theirs is the only valid reading of Scorsese’s work is dubious. Arguing against elitist interpretations that border on calls for prohibition of the film, this contribution presents a new approach to Raging Bull. It is informed by sociological and ethnographic accounts from the US-American boxing milieu in the 20th century. This approach makes it necessary to ground an interpretation of Raging Bull in the actual circumstances of boxing in the United States where two views on the urban gym in social hot spots have been established. Those views are as follows: (i) the gym is perceived as something like a safe space and frontier against the outside world with all its troubles, and (ii) the gym is perceived through the lens of the various ideologies and socio-economic problems that permeate it on a daily basis and control much of what goes on inside. This sympathetic interpretation is supported by LaMotta’s autobiography, which served as a foundation for the film and supports the conclusion that there is a constant dialectical process between Jake’s violent behavior and the moral codes he was taught to obey, particularly those relating to the traditional institution of the family, whose rules govern Jake, even in total isolation.
Keywords
Philosophy of Film, Sport and Culture, Raging Bull, Adaptations
To cite this article
Arturo Leyva, Raging Bull: A Story of Physical and Psychological Self-destruction in Boxing, American Journal of Sports Science. Vol. 8, No. 4, 2020, pp. 81-88. doi: 10.11648/j.ajss.20200804.11
Copyright
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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