This July the Tokyo Olympics will finally take place, Modern Films has a fascinating documentary they would love you to see before the game. The Witches Of The Orient documents the gripping and playful story of ‘the witches’ the former players of Japanese Volleyball team, watch the UK Trailer.
Julien Faraut‘s dives into the story of this legendary squad, who got a unique nickname because of their seemingly supernatural powers on the courts. Inspiring legions of fans and a whole cult genre of manga comics and anime shows, have left a unique sporting and cultural legacy…
Featuring striking 16mm colour reels of the team in training, together with previously unseen archive footage produced by the Japanese Olympic Committee in 1964, alongside a montage of vintage manga and TV material, Faraut’s compelling film also brings together contemporary interviews with four of the original ‘witches’. It charts the formation of the unstoppable all-female squad in the late 1950s as a worker’s team at a textile factory in Post-War Osaka, who, with their notorious coach Hirobumi Daimatsu, trained through the night, rising to become world champions in 1962, before their sensational triumph at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
As we meet them in the present, reunited round the dinner table and reflecting on their collective achievements and their lives, their memories and true magic from long ago bubble up into a heady brew. Fact and fable fly hand in hand and the strength, tenacity, ambition and immense modesty of these women is celebrated once more.
Having worked with the film library of the French Sports Institute (INSEP) for nearly 20 years, Julien Faraut has had access to a large and mostly unseen collection of 16mm archival footage. With a fascination for the incredible achievements of highly skilled athletes, his portfolio of work explores unique and astonishing human beings through the medium of film, aiming to bridge the connections between sport, cinema and art. Says Faraut:
The archival footage and vintage anime film is supported by an evocative score, mixing the sound loops and repetitive rhythms of textile machines and sports training together with the poignant voice of Beth Gibbons (Portishead) in key sequences and uplifting, original tracks composed by American musician Jason Lytle, best known for his work as the principal singer-songwriter of acclaimed indie rock group, Grandaddy.
The Witches Of The Orient will be released in the UK & Ireland onh16 July, just in time for the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan. The film will open in cinemas nationwide, as well as through Virtual Cinema partners as listed at www.modernfilms.com/watch.