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Iowa Wrestling Tale Of Warriors By Michael Smith

2416 words - 10 pages

It is the dusk of autumn. Cold wind chills rush in the farmlands, bringing about their bitter and unsaturated cast, a ghastly blue fading into blackness and wilting green, the predominant colors of the time. This is no sign of despair; it's rather welcoming for the people of Iowa. This is wrestling season.
Iowa Wrestling, a documentary directed by Michael Smith and narrated by Dylan McDermott, is produced by ESPN. It was televised in 2003 on ESPN The Season, a series that reveals the rigidity, torment, and triumph of the nation's highest demanding sport groups. The film primarily focuses on a story about the Hawkeye's Men of The Mat, an élite group of wrestlers from the University of Iowa under the leadership of Jim Zalesky, the head coach and the promising new successor of former legend, Dan Gable. In the story, the team faces multiple obstructions and challenges that continuously attempt to run them down their darkest fear: losing. As seen throughout the film, the team pushes beyond their physical and mental limits in order to avoid meeting that fear. By all means, how they train their minds and bodies are unthinkable. It is quite frightening. For the Hawkeyes, wrestling is not a sport, nor even an intense competitive activity; it is war. Iowa Wrestling is nominated as one of the greatest sport documentaries of all-time because of its insightfulness. It goes in deep depths to analyze truly how intense wrestling can be, especially in the University of Iowa. However, the film is also intentionally persuasive, using means of cinema verité, or persuasive filming, to convey the message efficiently. The film is no jubilant one; it is powerful yet poignant. It appeals to the viewers with ethos, logos, and pathos, and can be shown through morals, interviews, structures, and sound. These features ultimately tell the tale of warriors.
The film opens with a talk from Tom Brands, the Hawkeye's wrestling assistant coach, a perfect way to start. He says: "Wrestling is a miniature battle between two people that both have strong wills." At that time, there is no music, and Brands seems rather dull. Then the speech became adroit: "In order for my athlete to be successful, he'd better be an asshole. He'd better be a dick. He'd better be selfish and he'd better be mean. It's you or the other guy: win you live, lose you die." Aside from it being humorously serious, the sudden angry expression of Brands helps understand what is demanded from the best. And the best starts from the bottom. Directly after that interview is a clip of a small elementary-level wrestling tournament. The crowd roars, wild like a colosseum presenting a fight of beasts. The beasts, however, are mere children. The kids are described as "fresh-eyed foot soldiers, innocent and eager, ready for blood's first taste." This is meant to give the perception that the Iowans' great athletes train from the very youth. This sets the attitude for later in the documentary when the college wrestlers are...

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