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Tokyo Olympiad

Film/Video

Photo courtesy The Museum of Modern Art/Film Stills Archive
Tokyo Olympiad
Kon Ichikawa, 1965
Fri, Feb 8, 2002 7 PM
"So singular and stylized is Ichikawa's approach to his record of the 1964 Olympics that it can hardly be called a documentary."--James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario

Tokyo Olympiad (170 mins.) is the distillation of 70 hours of CinemaScope film footage that Ichikawa and his 164 cameramen captured during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It's a highly stylized take on the proceedings, yet at the same time a surprisingly intimate one.

The film met controversy immediately upon release for its refusal to give Japanese athletes special treatment--both the film's commissioners as well as the emperor and his family reportedly loathed it. Yet it remains a nearly inimitable achievement in world cinema, comparable only to Riefenstahl's Olympiad.

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