36°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Zachary Levy’s ‘Strongman’ Featured in UMass Boston Film Series

Film+maker+Zachary+Levy+answering+question+during+the+Strongman+Q%26amp%3BA%26%23160%3B

Film maker Zachary Levy answering question during the Strongman Q&A 

On March 5, the University of Massachusetts Boston film series continued this year’s showing of critically acclaimed movies with the documentary “Strongman,” by Zachary Levy.
Before the screening of the main movie, in accord with this year’s extended program, a video essay on making great video essays, by film critic and producer Kevin B. Lee, was shown. The audience experienced what it means for a video essay to be considered successful, and caught a glimpse into the world of short movies.
Zachary Levy introduced the his movie to the audience by saying that it was a “huge part of my life for many, many years.” In all together, it took 10 years for the movie to be made, only three of which were for filming.
All throughout the film viewers experienced the intimacy between the filmmaker and the main character, Stan. Levy and Stan met at a stunt show during which Stan was tied to two airplanes trying to take off. According to the filmmaker, he immediately felt a special connection between them, and knew right away that this would be a story worth telling. Levy and Stan are in regular contact with each other.
His biggest dream to become a strongman who performs “honest” stunts without any tricks or hoax. However, it soon becomes clear to the audience that it is difficult to achieve that. Yet Stan remains the most positive person throughout the whole movie.
Over the course of the movie, the different relationships get put into different perspectives and the audience follows as they develop. It is also shown how tension evolves between the protagonists of the film. However, it also becomes very clear that although there is negative feelings towards each other, many of the characters are dependent of each other.
A special focus is set on the relationship between Stan and Barbara, his girlfriend, which both seem to need each other very much, even if it doesn’t become clear who requires more of the presence of the other one.
It is also very noticeable how the film not only points out close relationships, but many contradictions and differences between the characters and their personalities. As the narration is evolving, the audience is able to understand that Stan’s brother, Michael, is in many ways the exact opposite of him. While Stan works hard and keeps believing in his dream to become a famous and respected strongman, Michael seems somehow already defeated by life, although he’s still at a relatively young age. In the few intimate scenes with him, it is shown how a regular abuse of alcohol and drugs has taken over his days. It could be understood as two parallel, but yet different worlds that have the same origin. It represents in a way as what kind of person Stan could have ended up if he didn’t have a dream that kept his spirit and mind alive. Therefore, this film is putting us in front of a mirror and forcing us to reflect on our own lives. We ask ourselves, am I living my life to the fullest or am I just drifting between the forces of our world?