Kon Ichikawa John Gillett - Essay

John Gillett

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Near the beginning of Kon Ichikawa's film of the Tokyo Olympic Games [Tokyo Olympiad 1965], a great iron builder's weight is seen crashing into a half-demolished building as the Olympic Stadium begins to grow. The tone is set: this is to be a film about violent physical activity; though not quite a hymn to straining muscles and national pride. Sport for me, Ichikawa seems to say, comprises graceful bodies in motion plus a kind of bizarre unnaturalness almost akin to vaudeville and the circus. And it is to Ichikawa's credit that he manages to alternate these concepts without any obvious changing of gears, looking at the events with a hundred camera eyes which seem like one, and always seeking the involving,...

(The entire section is 493 words.)