DFT @ Home | The Witches of the Orient

(France/Japan/2021—directed by Julian Faraut)

How did a group of humble factory workers become a phenomenal sports success story and the pride of an entire nation? This ferociously innovative and visually stunning new documentary tells the tale of the Japanese women's volleyball team's thrilling rise, including their unbelievable 258-game winning streak, leading to Olympic gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

United by their jobs in a textile factory, the Japanese women's volleyball team chased absolute perfection under the guidance of their unrelentingly tough coach Hirofumi Daimatsu. Known as "the Demon,” his grueling, endless practice sessions shaped the team into a powerful force, striking fear in the hearts of the team’s competitors, who labeled them with the racist, sexist, dismissive nickname, "the oriental witches.”

Using fantastic manga and anime sequences, archival footage of matches and training sessions (driven by the sounds of French musician K-Raw) and testimony from the now-octogenarian teammates, director Julian Faraut (John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection) thrillingly charts the team’s meteoric rise and their overwhelmingly vital spirit in this optimistic prelude to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. In Japanese and French with English subtitles. (100 minutes)

“The world-beating Japanese women’s volleyball team of the 1960s roars colorfully back to life.”   –Neil Young, Screen International 

“By pairing real-life events with their animated interpretations, the film not only offers a fresh approach to documentary-style but also draws out the tension between reality and artifice, private and public memory. This stranger-than-fiction chapter of sports history keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, despite knowing the outcome.”  – Phuong Le, The Guardian

 

 

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