Les Sorcières de l’Orient

  • 100'
  • France
  • 2021

They are known as the ‘The Witches of the Orient’: the Japanese women’s volleyball team who won Olympic gold at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. They started out as the team of a textile factory, winning victory after victory, and their record of 258 successive wins remains unbeaten to this day. The team were so popular that a whole raft of manga characters, cartoons and anime series was based on them. Julien Faraut’s sparkling documentary makes use of fantastic manga and anime sequences, such as Attack no 1 (1968), with archival footage of blood-curdling matches and extreme training sessions, driven by rhythmic editing and great music from French musician K-Raw.

Faraut has previously dived deep into the world of sports, such as in L’Empire de la perfection, featuring 16mm footage of tennis player John McEnroe. This time he adds a smattering of pop culture references. When the women – now in their seventies – get together again after many years, they are playfully introduced like the heroines of a 1960s spy film. Volleyball like you’ve never seen it before.

Director
Julien Faraut
Premiere
World premiere
Country of production
France
Production Year
2021
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
100'
Medium
DCP
International title
The Witches of the Orient
Languages
Japanese, Russian, French
Producer
William Jehannin
Production Company
UFO Production
Sales
Lightdox
Screenplay
Julien Faraut
Cinematography
Yamazaki Yutaka
Sound Design
Léon Rousseau
Music
Jason Lytle, K-Raw