Critiquing the Olympic documentary: Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad


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Mcdonald, Ian (2008) Critiquing the Olympic documentary: Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad Sport in Society, 11 (2). pp. 298-310. ISSN 1743-0437

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Tokyo Olympiad is not only a cinematically accomplished documentary film, but also presents a highly insightful critique of Olympism and its limitations. In critiquing the production and politics of the film, I argue that Tokyo Olympiad ought to be seen as an expressive or 'poetic' documentary film in which Ichikawa, the humanist filmmaker, captures the complex and contradictory nature of humanism in the Olympic Games. By highlighting Ichikawa's decidedly ambivalent perspective on the spirit of Olympism, I extend previous critiques that posit Tokyo Olympiad as the saviour of the true spirit of Olympism from its fascistic rendering in Riefenstahl's Olympia. In so doing, my analysis points to the contrast between the sentimental and hackneyed treatments of sport often found in the media coverage of the Olympics, and the subtle profound examination of the banality and heroism of sport in Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: film; olympiad; critique of Olympism; documentary
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology
L000 Social Sciences > L900 Cultural Studies
P000 Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies > P390 Media studies not elsewhere classified
L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology > L311 Sport and Leisure
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/17430430701823547
Faculties: Faculty of Education and Sport > Chelsea School
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2010 11:30
Last Modified: 26 May 2015 15:05

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