Lions in the Corner is a 9-minute documentary about a Virginia man who, for most of his life, has been called Scarface.
His physical scars, which he’s carried with him for the majority of his life, are the result of a house fire. As he explains it, he had to have over a hundred surgeries when he was growing up. That left him with an addiction to opioids. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, Scarface fell into a criminal lifestyle. He ran with gangs. He did time in prison. At one point, he nearly died after he was shot. Scarface says that he’s one of the few men who can tell anyone firsthand what it feels like to die.
After getting out of prison, Scarface turned his life around. He got married. He had two children. And, in his backyard, he set up something that he calls Street Beefs, a boxing ring where people — mostly, judging from the documentary, young men — can settle their disagreements with their fists instead of out on the streets with a gun or a knife. (At one point, the documentary shows us a pair of boxing gloves, across which has been written, “Glove up or Shut Up.”)
However, it’s about more than just boxing. Whether they win or lose, each fighter is treated like a champion when they step into the ring and each fighter has people in the audience cheering him on. That’s not something that a lot of the men who fight in Scarface’s backyard get to experience in their everyday life.
Lions in the Corner is an effective and, ultimately, moving documentary. It focuses as much on Scarface’s story as it does on the punches being thrown in the ring and, fortunately, the guy is a charismatic storyteller. By the end of this short documentary, you can’t help but wish the best for not only him but also for everyone who steps into the ring.
Lions in the Corner is currently available on Prime.