TOKYO – On Monday, the premiere of a documentary about the postponed pandemic Olympics in Tokyo, which was shown to journalists and other invited guests in the Japanese capital.

The 120-minute film, shot by Japanese director Naomi Kawase, looks at the Olympics primarily in terms of athletes, but not just winning athletes.

After Tokyo, the film will be screened on Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival at the Bunuel Theater, named after the Spanish-born iconoclastic director Luis Bunuel.

“The Olympics are not just about winning prizes, you are the first to go after the victory that is right in front of you at the moment,” Cavase said in a recent interview. “I also tried to reflect the desire to become winners in life.”

Kawase also made another film that looks at events away from athletes, dubbed “Side B”. His debut will take place on an unspecified date.

Kawase said she shot the film in two parts because after the Games were postponed due to a pandemic, her theme became more complex.


The film examines refugee athletes and athletes who have fled. She also touched on gender equality, athletes competing as mothers, and highlighted the resignation of Yoshir Mori as president of the local organizing committee.

Mori, Japan’s former prime minister, resigned five months before the Olympics opened after making derogatory comments about women, saying they “talk too much”.

Kon Ichikov’s 1964 Tokyo Olympics documentary, The Tokyo Olympics, is generally considered one of the most important in the genre. Also in this category is Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia of the 1936 Berlin Games.

Kawase said she was honored to follow in Ichikova’s footsteps and tried to show what was visible as well as what was not visible.

“I was amazed at how people reach the pinnacle of physical beauty,” Kawase said. “I felt they were so beautiful watching them; all athletes, not just winners. And the time they spent getting there was also great. ”


Kawasa’s documentary is simply called “The Official Film of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” It was named in 2018 for the production of the film, which examines the carryovers in March 2020 and the unrest that led to the opening – mostly without fans – on July 23, 2021 – and closing on August 8.

In the synopsis, Kahn said it took 750 days with 5,000 hours to shoot the film.

It records “not only athletes from all over the world, but also their families, people participating in the Games, volunteers, media workers and protesters shouting for the abolition of the Olympics. The film shows the passion and suffering that caused these Olympic Games. “

Kawase is very famous and became the youngest director to win the Golden Chamber Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her 1997 film Suzaku.

Her most famous recent films are “Sweet Bean” and “Quiet Water”.

The documentary is funded by the International Olympic Committee and the local organizing committee and is mandatory under the hosting contract.


Toshira Muto, director general of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said when Kawasa was introduced four years ago that the IOC owns the copyright to the film and “has the right to make key decisions when making the film.”

Kawase said she was affected by the invasion of Russia or Ukraine, wondering what entertainment meant amid war killings.

“I hope that when people see this film in 50 years, in 100 years, they will understand the importance of protecting this happiness – so small that it can fit in the palm of your hand.”

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