In Marc Caro's "K.O. Kid", two very different opponents face each other in a boxing match. We see real people being treated like cartoons. This is what makes this film such an original piece of art not only from a point of view of context but also optically.
"K. 0. KID" shows a rhythmic boxing match between a bestial monster, and a weakling with the nickname K. 0. KID. In three rounds K.O. KID wins an unsuspected victory over his mighty opponent.
A boxing match straight out of a cartoon. But instead of painted figures, we see real people going through all the typical sight gags of a cartoon, taking Tex Avery as a model.
These are excerpts from a boxing match with the highlights from each round. The little character is a slippery customer; to get at him the big guy has to smash up the ring - referee included. To produce the Kid's dodging, the characters are put through every three-dimensional possibility. In the end, the Kid wins by a knockout.
The narrative style is on the rhythmic side, every punch cues an effect. It is a boxing match à la Charlie Chaplin; David vs. Goliath.
- The baddie: the big brute.
- The goodie: small, thin, timid, trembling, he hides behind the referee and spends his time trying to escape the brute by any means the ring can offer him. He is astonishingly good at escaping and has a particular skill with his fists which enables him to place his punches.
Moving, blood-red silken material fills the screen. The camera pulls back to reveal the title "K.O. KID", embroidered in white silk. Camera flashbulbs go off: We see that the title of the film is written on the robe of a boxer, who is on his way to the ring under a hail of camera flashes.
We rejoin our boxer as he climbs through the ring ropes, which can be seen vibrating in time with the bass-lines of the score. The camera pans to reveal the adversary in the opposite corner of the ring, a Goliath with the features of a thug. The referee appears in the foreground and uses the microphone suspended from the ceiling to announce the two rivals. Our two boxers have taken off their robes and stepped into the middle of the ring where the referee explains the rules to them. K.O. KID seems rather unsettled by the brute's threats.
Close-up on the two pairs of gloves that are going to meet. Transition gong to the first round.
Observation phase. The fierce beast. The floor shakes with every step. K.0. KID evades, ducks and flees (à la Charlie Chaplin). He ends up taking a punch, but is saved by the gong. K.O. KID washes his mouth out while his opponent looks daggers. Transition by means of a camera movement into K.0. KID's black eye. The mirror image of his ominously booming opponent takes us into ...
K.0. KID becomes more self-assured in his bluffs and dodges. He charms us with magnificent legwork. His ever more furious adversary has difficulty reaching him, even though his punches destroy parts of the ring. The end of round two leaves our brute completely drained of power. He quenches his thirst in the bucket next to his stool. From the murky water in the bottom of the bucket, a transition takes us to the third and final round.
This time K.O. KID counters. A series of hooks and upper cuts forces his enemy to go on the defensive. With a final straight right he sends the enormous brute crashing to the canvas.
To cheers and a volley of flash bursts the referee declares K.O. KID the winner by a knockout. The camera tracks back to reveal the spectators wildly applauding our champion. The rolling credits fade in.
HW: Arnault Lamorlette
SW: Buf Software