Tokyo Olympiad

(Tôkyô orinpikku)

Digital Restoration

I tried to grasp the solemnity of the moment, when man defies his limits, and to express the solitude of the athlete who, in order to win, struggles against himself . . . I wanted people to rediscover with astonishment that wonder which is a human being.

Kon Ichikawa

This is a masterpiece of poetic documentary filmmaking, presented in its original almost-three-hour version. Kon Ichikawa, inspired by Leni Riefenstahl’s immortal coverage of the 1936 Olympics, decided to make a documentary of the 1964 games in Tokyo. His project involved 164 camera operators (supervised by Kazuo Miyagawa and Shigeo Hayashida) plus a crew of 500, making it an Olympian feat. But Ichikawa was intent on making “a visual poem of peace and human equality.” The result: every frame is an exercise in film experimentation, “an idiosyncratic, formally innovative, and surprisingly intimate film” (James Quandt).

  • Kon Ichikawa
  • Natto Wada
  • Ishio Shirasaka
  • Shuntaro Tanigawa
  • Shigeo Hayashida
  • Kazuo Miyagawa
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 170 mins
  • Janus Films