Sport, Sport, Sport

Sports-the reality, the obsession, and the point where the two meet-is the subject of Klimov's early satirical film. He combines fictional imagery with documentary footage, edited into a brilliant, often humorous report on the world's favorite pastime and, in the U.S.S.R., a national preoccupation: the Olympic games. The torture of training (from competition swimmers to children at sports camp); the inescapable reality of broken bones; a runner's death by dehydration (Philadelphia, 1959); the politics of winning (Berlin, 1936); the brutality of contact sports-hundreds of images are woven together around the fictional persona of Uncle Volodya, a Russian masseur who has many stories to tell, some of them true. A highlight of his fantastic accounts is a staged medieval jousting match, replete with gladiators and costumed audience, representing “an early Soviet Sports Event.”

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