Original Title: 東京オリンピック
Directed by: Kon Ichikawa
Runtime: 169 minutes
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
As Japan plays host to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo for the second time in history, it does so amidst furious debate about the ongoing pandemic that had already forced the Games to be delayed by a year. It is now more apt than ever to take a look back in time when the nation first sprang into the global sporting limelight.
Hailed as one of the greatest sports documentaries ever made, Kon Ichikawa’s film captures the 1964 Games with groundbreaking widescreen images and cutting-edge techniques. Displaying expansive shots of patriotic glory alongside intimate records of the many triumphs and heartbreaks of spectators and athletes, Ichikawa enthralls in this cinematic paean to the beauty and intensity of the Olympic Games.
About the Director
Kon Ichikawa was born in Honshū, Japan, in 1915. Born Giichi Ichikawa, he was re-named “Kon” by an uncle who felt the characters in kanji “崑” symbolised good luck. He worked first as an animator right after graduation in 1933 before moving on to films when his company shut down its animation department.
Ichikawa’s versatile ouvre stretches wide between the government-commissioned documentary Tokyo Olympiad, and his antimilitarist features, satires, gangster films and melodramatic thrillers. Throughout his many highly respected features, Ichikawa shared a successful aesthetic and screenwriting partnership with wife, Natto Wada.
In 1965, the documentary bagged him the BAFTA United Nations Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. His film Odd Obsession won the Jury Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.
Ichikawa remains one of the most prolific and revered filmmakers from Japan. He died in Tokyo in February, 2008, at the age of 92.
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