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July 1994


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Jesse Kalin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Jul 1994 17:06:29 -0400
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>While many of the "subliminal backgrounds" noted so far are fun winks at
>those quick enough to recognize them - they can be used to much greater
>effect in the hands of certain filmmakers.  Unfortunately, I can't make any
>accurate citations right now (a challenge to you :) ) but directors like
>Scorcese, and to a much greater degree, Godard, use their incredible breadth
>of knowledge - which, as I say, *many* young audiences possess today - not
>only to wink at the audience with film references, but also to comment on the
>story at hand, and the experience of watching that particular film.  A
>collection of these types of references would be very interesting indeed.
>Philip Shane
>[log in to unmask]
Kon Ichikawa begins his film of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics with the carrying
of the Olympic Torch to the stadium.  This is an extended sequence, and is,
I would argue, a direct reference to Riefenstahl's beginning of "Olympia",
but its tone and character are quite different.  This reference to
"Olympia"--and the values it involves as well as its historical place (only
deepened, of course, by the fact that Germany and Japan were allies in
WW2)--is fundamental to the structure and point/intents of "Olympiad",
which are both in opposition to it (Ichikawa's focus is the common humanity
or "brotherhood" of sports, rather that the centrality of excellence and
the achievement of winning/being the best which characterizes Riefensthal's
treatment) and, I think, meant to be both a replacement/displacement of
Riefenstahl's film and, in some sense, an apology for what followed it.
"Olympiad" is available on laser disc from Criterion.
Jesse Kalin
Vassar College