The 1972 Munich Olympics as seen by eight directors; eight sequences devoted entirely to sport, with only passing reference to the intrusion of politics. About half of them work. Perhaps Lelouch on the losers is the most surprising, given his indifferent films; his study of private humiliation in a public place succeeds almost to the point of intrusion. Penn's sequence on the pole vault, shot almost entirely in slow motion and silence by Walter Lassally, is the most beautiful to look at. Penn lets the event speak for itself, unlike Ichikawa, who tries to show the 100 metres as representative of modern human existence, takes 34 cameras, shoots 20,000 feet of film, and still fails. Schlesinger's treatment of the marathon emerges as the most individual piece, but with its straining after hallucinatory and atmospheric effects, ends up overdone. Mai Zetterling's study of weightlifters deserves mention, while the other three are forgettable. The final impression that remains is of a public relations campaign - what makes the Games transcend the physical into the spiritual, as the press handout said - for an event that is becoming increasingly complex and out-of-hand; a pity that no one explored those implications.
Juri Ozerov, Mai Zetterling, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Milos Forman, John Schlesinger
Deliara Ozerova, David Hughes, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Claude Lelouch, John Schlesinger