TOKYO Olympiad

Esquire (Malaysia) - - MACHINERY -

(1965) Di­rected by Kon Ichikawa A more widely-known doc­u­men­tary of an Olympics is Olympia, the con­tro­ver­sial record of the 1936 Ber­lin games di­rected by Leni Riefen­stahl, Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist. More im­pres­sive and re­veal­ing is this film of the 1964 Tokyo games, com­mis­sioned by the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment who gave per­mis­sion to film any­where, rather than the IOC, who would not. So this is a loose, al­most ex­pres­sion­is­tic take on sport and sports­peo­ple, de­void of easy hero­ism and of­fi­cial pomp. You get the bro­ken ath­letes at the back of the marathon, as well as the lead­ers. There are close-ups of kit and body parts. There’s no story, just snip­pets of com­pe­ti­tion and some or­gan­i­sa­tional stuff. The lack of spon­sor names makes it seem 100 years old, never mind 50. See­ing sport get the art-house treat­ment is rare and splen­did.

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