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Southpaw review

Documentary tracing the life and career of amateur boxer Francis Barrett, the first member of Ireland's traveller community to represent his country at the Olympics.

Made by the team responsible for I Went Down, the intimate portrait begins in Galway at the caravan site where Francis grew up. There, at the age of 11, he came under the tutelage of coach and mentor Chick Gillen. The assorted interviewees include Francis, Chick, various Barrett family members and Luigi Leo, who coaches Francis in London.

Even for non-boxing fans, Southpaw proves fascinating thanks to its vacillating narrative of triumphs and setbacks. Despite being coated with deadpan humour, it never shies away from presenting the prejudices experienced by travellers in the Emerald Isle. And it suggests that, for Francis to win a medal at the Sydney Olympics, he may need to sever some of his oldest ties: the very associates that have given him the most support.

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