Tokyo Orinpikku (Tokyo Olympiad), made in 1964, is a documentary film on the summer Olympic Games which were held in Tokyo that year – the first to take place in Asia. A look back at visual masterpiece of Asian cinema.
Photo of the film © RR
Tokyo Orinpikku is an ode to the athleticism and nobility of sportsmen and women. In its first part, it also pays tribute to those who make the ceremonies possible, such as the public and the Olympic Committee. Ichikawa also films the failures – an integral part of any competition. Visually breathtaking, the documentary bears witness to the humanity of the games, a far cry from the rigorous message of the promotional terms broadcast at the time. The glory, despair, passion and suffering of Olympic competition are captured with a lyricism and technical mastery that celebrate the beauty of the body and the strength of the human spirit.
It was a large-format masterpiece by Kon Ichikawa, the director world-famous for The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain. Over 250 people, a hundred cameras and 100,000m of film were used in this gigantic project, which went on to immense popular and critical acclaim, and picked up a number of international prizes. The film's international premiere took place at the 1965 Festival de Cannes, which also marked Kon Ichikawa's first visit to the Festival, nearly 50 years ago.
This year, Cannes Classics includes a unique film which proved to be a milestone in the documentary genre. The restoration project was undertaken by Warner Bros: the film was digitally restored in 4K based on the original work.
Friday 23rd May / Salle du Soixantième / 7:00 pm