The Outhouse shows up at the Tribeca Film Festival to take a look at some of the most highly-anticipated independent films coming down the pike. This time out: a look at the training regimen of one of the greatest fighters in the world.
Recently, Staff Writer Royal Nonesuch purchased a package of tickets to films screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. This is the fifth of his reports from the festival.
Directed by Pablo Croce
Documentary 74 min
There is a moment partway through Like Water where Anderson Silva answers three questions in a row during a telephone press conference with one word: "No." The fourth question, about how he is training differently to prepare for his upcoming bout, is answered with a joke: "I'm training with Steven Seagal."
It's a testament to Silva's natural elusiveness and causal, laconic demeanor away from the octagon that at the end of a documentary all about him, the man nicknamed "The Spider" remains so much of a mystery. Rarely, if ever, addressing the cameras, Silva talks a lot about just "doing a job" when it comes to his fighting. He isn't particularly interested in the business side of fighting, and barely puts the minimum effort into the promotion of a fight. His conduct in the press conference annoyes Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to the point that White is threatening to "cut" Silva if he doesn't defeat challenger Chael Sonnen in the upcoming (and highly publicized) fight for Silva's Middleweight Championship. Silva just wants to train and fight, and the rest of it just isn't important to him.
That passion comes off to some as arrogance. The first fight featured in the film takes place on April 10, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, and ends with Silva dancing around and showboating; basically toying with opponent Damian Maia by simply evading all of his attacks. In the wake of that match, he is criticized by the press, and by White himself for the way he conducts himself and he seems to have become something of a villain. That is, before White announces that Silva's next title defense will be against Sonnen. Like Water is almost as much about Sonnen and his trash talking as it is about Silva. Footage of Silva's intense training regimen has audio of Sonnen's insulting (and, at times, racially questionable) media interviews laid under them. Director Pablo Croce and editor Andy Grieve juxtapose footage of Sonnen shouting about Silva's standoffishness and lack of accessibility with images of Silva getting mobbed by fans and eagerly signing autographs for them.
Grieve refers to Sonnen as "the perfect villain" for the film, and Croce told the audience at a screening of Water that Sonnen was the reason why they decided to focus on the these particular months of training, with the match (which took place on August 7, 2010) serving as the film's climax. The training is exceptionally rigorous and goes on for hours per day, six days a week. What's interesting about Silva, though, is the way he carries himself during his downtime. He is so laid back and reserved that it's almost surprising that he's such a dominant fighter. The film effortlessly gets across his quiet confidence and steadiness of demeanor. The fight footage (provided by UFC) and training sequences are edited fantastically by Grieve. He and Croce put together a great story arc that starts with Anderson Silva being an arrogant, disrespectful champion and ends with him emerging as a resilient and humble one.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch