In Howie Shia’s BAM, a young boxer finds it hard to control the intense rage that resides within him. Offering a modern take on the myth of Hercules, Shia constructs an intricate examination of masculinity that is both lyrically powerful and visually stunning. Similar to the half-mortal Greek God that serves as the inspiration, the boxer at the heart of this short film is both heroic and deeply flawed. While he would like nothing more than to enjoy a quiet life, he finds it hard to remain idle as others get mistreated. Unable to control the divinely given strength, that is both a gift and a curse, the boxer’s heroic deeds are met with horror and disgust by those who witness his fury. The feelings are also echoed in the boxer himself upon reflecting on his actions after his rage subsides.

Instead of making his character a stereotypical meathead with fists, Shia’s subject is a tragic figure who we cannot help but sympathize with. The boxer represents a generation of young men unable to navigate their place in society. The men conflicted by the expectations thrust upon them that directly contrast their true nature. Anchored by animation that is as fluid as the mythology it evokes, BAM is a sensational short film that offers a thought-provoking look at rage, mythology, and masculinity.

Screens as part of Short Cuts Programme 11:
Wednesday, September 16, 10:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Thursday, September 17, 11:15 AM, Scotiabank Theatre
Sunday, September 20, 6:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

Ticket information can be found at the TIFF website.