Tokyo Olympiad (The Criterion Collection)
The Criterion Collection
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A spectacle of magnificent proportions, Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad ranks among the greatest documents of sport ever committed to film. Utilizing glorious widescreen cinematography, Ichikawa examines the beauty and rich drama on display at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo, creating a catalogue of extraordinary observations that range from the expansive to the intimate. The glory, despair, passion, and suffering of Olympic competition are rendered with lyricism and technical mastery, culminating in an inspiring testament to the beauty of the human body and the strength of the human spirit.
- New high-definition digital transfer and improved subtitle translation
- Liner Notes by Legendary Sports Writer George Plimpton
- Complete List of Winners In All Events
- Symposium On Tokyo Olympiad, Excerpted From the Cinemathrque Ontario Book Kon Ichikawa
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Top Customer Reviews
Tokyo Olympiad, known as Tokyo Orimpikku in the Japanese language, is the first Sports documentary released by the Criterion Collection. This film has gotten me interested in olympics and will pay more attention to it in the future.
The film covers some of the highlights of the 1964 summer olympic games in Tokyo Japan. It covers the construction of the stadium, opening and closing ceremonies, a scene of the cafeteria as well as the following sports. Men's 100 meter, men's high jump, men's and women's shot put, pole vaulting, hammer throw, men's 10,000 meter, women's 800 meter, men's 100 meter relay, men's long jump, women's 80 meter with hurdles, gymnastics, men's 100 meter freestyle swimming, women's 100 meter backstroke, men's freestyle relay. women's 100 meter freestyle, weightlifting,. wrestling, boxing, fencing, judo, shooting, cycling race, women's volleyball, boading, men's 50 kilometer walk, pentathalon and the marathon.
Several other sports were played, but not included in the film for the sake of brevity. Still the film runs at 2 hours and 50 minutes which was cut down from 70 hours of material.
This DVD release is one of the best released by the Criterion Collection which I have seen. This certainly is Kon Ichikawa's crowning achievement.
Right from the lighting of the cauldron by a man born in Hiroshima the exact day of the infamous bombing to the closing ceremonies opening the way for the games in Mexico City four years later.
The DVD has some fine special features also. There is a 1992 interview with director Kon Ichikawa and commentary by film scholar and olympic fan Peter Cowie.
In addition there's dozens of pages of supplement material in the liner notes including a list of all the medalists in each event, and many other things.
This is a definite must buy for olympic fans, sports fans, documentary fans and just about anyone!
With the advent of HD and all the other technical improvements developed since this film was made, we are accustomed to intimacy and detail not available to
earlier film directors. I am thinking of the aerial coverage as well as the tracking cameras now used in the hurdles and other events. Another thing I noticed was the lack of atadium lighting. Track events in late afternoon were very dark and difficult to appreciate.
What I did like was yhe attention to competitors beyond the top finishers. To see the anguish of many runners during the marathon was heart breaking.
My own favorite moment: the slow-mo 800 meter women's. Ichikawa had two cameras on the scene, and it is the mesmerizing second view of the legs of the runners that gripped me. The fluidity of motion, the definition of their muscles, clearly evident. The front-runner, legs pistoning in a seemingly perfect rythym, seems in control. And then, from the left side of the screen, (keep in mind, in this shot we're seeing mostly just waist down shots of the legs of the runners) Ann Packer's legs come into the shot, moving faster than all the others on the screen. She blows by them all, to win the race. It's a masterful moment for Packer, and a gorgeous scene in the movie.
Second best: Ichikawa takes full advantage of the 2.35:1 widescreen format and there is a huge pull-back showing the entirety of Mt. Fuji. One of the torch runners passes in the foreground. As Crowie mentions in the commentary the runner is reduced to bug-size by this. It is a breath-takingly beautiful sight.
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