Opening and Closing
Sports Films Record Beyond the Limits
On the occasion of Beijing hosting the Olympic Games for the second time in 2022, the 12th Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) launched a special section under the Beijing Film Panorama in collaboration with the Beijing International Sports Film Week. This year, there will be screenings of sports films again, through which the audience may enjoy “Double Olympic Dreams in Images”.
Since the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games, it’s been a tradition for the Summer and Winter Olympics to produce official Olympic films. Each of them not only records the inheritance and lasting of the Olympic spirit, but also contains common memory of a city, a nation and a country on the whole.
Poster of the Beijing 2022
After the conclusion of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, we are delighted to welcome another official Olympic film following The Everlasting Flame: Beijing 2008. Titled Beijing 2022, the film is directed by Lu Chuan and produced by Zhang Yimou. As the opening film of the 13th BJIFF, the Beijing 2022 documents how China mobilized the entire nation to host successful Winter Olympic Games, and fully fulfilled our bidding commitments. Popular athletes, such as Ren Ziwei, Wu Dajing, Yuzuru Hanyu and Su Yiming, will appear in the film. When watching the film, perhaps every viewer will recall the feeling of cheering for them at that time.
Filming site of the Beijing 2022
Unlike common sporting event documentaries, the Beijing 2022 intertwines two story lines, namely “Beijing-FOP Construction” and “Athletes-FOP Comeback”, thus presenting a group of ambitious “Winter Olympians”. In the long process of preparation for the organization and competition, they overcame all kinds of difficulties, and pushed the envelope further again and again. The film not only focuses on the Olympic spirit, but also highlights the significance of mankind’s cooperation and solidarity.
A Still of the Me and My Winter Games
When it comes to 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the first thing that occurs to us is the mascot Bing Dwen Dwen. It became an instant hit for its round build and cute little expression. Its popularity and being too hard to grab remain vivid before our eyes. The Me and My Winter Games, starring cute Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, tells a series of fantastic stories they encounter on their way to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Village.
Being the one and only licensed animation dedicated to the Winter Olympics, the film showcases a variety of Beijing elements. In addition, the film brings more than 30 famous Chinese animated characters together, such as Monkey King, and those in the Non-Human, reminding generations of Chinese audience of their childhood memory and paying tribute to the Winter Olympics.
Poster of The Wonder of Dance
The Wonder of Dance focuses on the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, and documents the entire rehearsal process of the only performance in the Opening Ceremony of the Games, Winter Paralympic Waltz. To deliver a 3-minute performance, 50 performers with hearing impairment and 40 healthy performers formed the “Snowflake Girls”, spared no efforts and had closed-door training together for three months under the guidance of 13 sign language teachers.
Apart from introduction about the rarely known disabled group and difficulties in their rehearsal, the film focuses on live “people”, and records their mental changes and relationship among these girls in detail. Just as Shen Chen, Creative Director of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, says at the beginning of the film, “Touch people with ‘stories’.”
A Still of The Pinkies Are Back
Another story about women, The Pinkies Are Back, depicts a group of extraordinary women conquering and surviving breast cancer, setting up a dragon boat team, and working together to win a gold medal in a competition held in Auckland. It’s an ode paid to women on the water.
As a matter of fact, there are “breast cancer survivor dragon boat teams” around the world, as it has become an established popular rehabilitation system. A group of women with the same disease in a dragon boat enjoy their laughter and work hard together. They are not daughters, wives or moms for the time being. And they put all out efforts in paddling, just like how they fight for the silver lining of their life.
A Still of the Enzo Ferrari, Le Rouge et Le Noir
The Enzo Ferrari, Le Rouge et Le Noir is a land-based legend that will surely amaze car and machinery enthusiasts. In the form of interview with Enzo Ferrari and his kinship as well as undisclosed files, the film reviews the remarkable career of the man wearing dark tinted glasses behind the Ferrari brand.
Instead of going to great lengths talking about the glorious history of Ferrari race cars, or the exciting “red and black” racing record, the film elaborates on how Enzo Ferrari became a global change maker.
A Still of The Summit of the Gods
The Summit of the Gods is adapted from the novel by writer Baku Yumemakura and manga series by the renowned manga artist Jiro Taniguchi. It tells the story about how Japanese photojournalist Makoto Fukamachi runs into a camera that may change the mountaineering history. The camera is linked to mysterious Habu Joji, a solo climber who’s been missing for years. Fukamachi enters the world of mountaineering enthusiasts, and decides to take the ultimate trip to the summit of the Gods.
The animation is dreamy, poetic, frenzy and addictive. It depicts the appeal of mountaineering in the past and present, and pays homage to conquerors.
A Still of The Mountain
Another mountaineering film, The Mountain tells the story of a middle-aged man with a successful career who, in between business trips, sees snow-capped mountain peak and glacier through a train window, and gets attracted by the beautiful nature. So, he falsely claims to be sick and asks for leaves, and embarks on a journey towards the appealing snow mountain.
The film allows the audience to follow the leading character Pierre, played by director himself, to the Mont Blanc and get unprecedented inner peace in front of the unrivaled scenery. The film succeeds in delivering magnificent and splendid frames, and the sense of mystery they create at fluid and cozy pace.
A Still of the Small, Slow but Steady
Sports films may be inspiring, uplifting and thrilling, or delicate and warm. The Small, Slow but Steady directed by Sho Miyake is the latter. The film focuses on the combat sport boxing, and meticulously depicts, captures and presents the feelings and emotions of the leading characters.
Keiko, who is born deaf and a professional boxer, has to make choice when the boxing club is about to be shut down: can she continue to fight when everything that justifies her training is going to disappear? The film was nominated for the Encounters section of the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, and was named the best of the Top 10 Japanese Films of 2022 by the Kinema Junpo magazine and most popular film of the Galas section at the 6th Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival (PYIFF).
A Still of the Mister Nokaut
The Mister Nokaut tells the story of legendary Soviet boxer Valery Popenchenko. His life goes up and down like a roller coaster--he spent his childhood at the Suvorov Military School in Tashkent, then served in the Border Service, both of which rewarded him unyielding will and iron fists. During his lifetime, he won Soviet and European titles, and a gold medal in the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.
Back then, when the Second World War was just over and the atmosphere of the Cold War was pervasive, the Olympic Games, a symbol of world peace, meant everything. The presentation of Valery Popenchenk’s identity transition from soldier to athlete, and comparison between his military and sports life demonstrate the director’s advocacy for peace: drop the weapon, put on boxing gloves and fight to decide the winner.
All the above-listed sports films are amazing. Don’t hesitate to grab a ticket if you are interested in the subject matter.