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THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT

THE WITCHES OF THE ORIENT

Julien Faraut · France · 2021 · 100 mins · NR · Japanese with subtitles
Awards IMDb7492%

92% on Rotten Tomatoes

How does a Japanese women’s volleyball team from the late 1950s become an international sensation, feminist role models, the subject of a wildly popular comic book and a still-influential anime? This stranger-than-fiction story is dynamically told by Julien Faraut (John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection) with an ironic twist on the original demeaning moniker, Oriental Witches. A group of Osaka textile workers are transformed into a fiercely competitive volleyball team by their astonishingly ruthless coach whose unconventional techniques emphasize speed and aggression. A record-setting winning streak and a dramatic 1964 Tokyo Olympics triumph follow. Wonderful archival footage of the women in training and on the court, animated versions of their championship games, and moving interviews with the women today are set to a pulsating electronic score.

“This is one of those documentaries that does what historical documentaries should do: it takes a monumental achievement that the viewer might not know about and gives it the presentation and love it deserves.”—Film Inquiry

“Fusing exquisitely shot color 16mm footage from 1964 of the team's training sessions, drone-like music and splices of animation, we get a delirious sense of what these committed women endured six out of seven days a week.”—Los Angeles Times

     
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