Post by StevePulaski on Jan 10, 2018 23:12:51 GMT -5
The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece (1924) Directed by: Jean de Rovera
Rating: ★★½ Film #3/53; part of the Criterion Collection's "100 Years of Olympic Film" box-set
A break from the kickoff in the form of a 178-minute showcase of the Stockholm Olympics and an enticing, 36-minute followup of the Winter Olympics in Chamonix that began the Criterion Collection box-set, The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece is the second of Jean de Rovera's Olympics trilogy. The merely eight-minute long short film takes an avant-garde approach not only to the warrior physique and the embodiment of an Olympian, but also the very loose-fitting definition of "Olympic film" in itself. The short is less a cohesive construct and more a brief series of staccato tableaux (a group of motionless models reenacting specific scenes or showcasing athleticism) that have show a small group of men emulating acts such as dueling and discus throwing. The men come from l'École de Joinville, a military gymnastics school, and form a group known as "les Athéna." Donald Sosin — the man who comprised the brilliant scores for many of the silent offerings of this collective release — challenges himself to break from the rather sunny and uplifting vibes of his compositions in favor of a brooding score that compliments the darker visuals on display here. The most amusing inclusion of this blink-and-you-miss-it endeavor is the way the athletes "at rest" still look like they're using every muscle in their immaculately sculpted bodies to strike an elaborate pose. The 1920s were a curious time for film; don't ever say they lacked ambition.
Directed by: Jean de Rovera.
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