Tokyo Olympiad (1965)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Japan, 1965.  , .  Screenplay by Kon Ichikawa, , , . Cinematography by , , , , .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .

The 1964 games are captured with vibrant life by master filmmaker Kon Ichikawa, who covers an entire range of spectacles in three seemingly short hours. Bookending the film with the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, the film features superb moments of triumph and skill in a wide variety of sports including pole vaulting, swimming, shot put, gymnastics, weight lifting, wrestling, boxing and a highly impressive marathon. What’s even more fascinating is Ichikawa’s deft understanding of the various rhythms of filmmaking that are required to capture these various sports in the most effective possible ways for the screen: lots of quiet intensity for the runners, bright flashy editing for pole vaulters and fluid camera movements for gymnastics are just some examples, and there are plenty of magnificent vistas that Ichikawa finds a myriad of creative ways to shoot. It’s a riveting, beautiful film, true to the pan-national, pro-peace message of the events, a tribute to the human form and the power of its perseverance.

The Criterion Collection:  #155

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