Lightdox Welcomes Julien Faraut’s New Documentary The Witches of the Orient
We are proud to announce our new acquisition, Julien Faraut’s latest film The Witches of the Orient, that premiered at FIPADOC 2021. The vibrant documentary will have its International Premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on Friday, February 5th, at 13:00, followed by a live Q&A with director Faraut.
The documentary meets the audience with the former players of the Japanese women’s volleyball team who won Olympic gold at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Now in their 70s, they used to be known as the « Witches of the Orient » because of their seemingly supernatural powers on the courts.
Described as “ … a fascinating portrait (buoyed by a sporty narrative that’s simple in its unfolding, but which becomes sophisticated, inventive and energetic through editing and music)”, by Cineuropa, The Witches of the Orient is produced by William Jéhannin of Paris based UFO Production in coproduction with National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP) France.
Formed in the late 1950s as a worker’s team at a textile factory, until their triumph at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the team became a pop culture sensation with a whole genre of manga and anime series based on them. Julien Faraut’s dazzling documentary interweaves fantastic manga and anime sequences with unique archival and contemporary footage, all driven by bold visuals, distinctly stylish editing and amazing electronic music from French musician K-Raw.
“I’ve always thought that if I enjoyed making a film, the viewers would probably enjoy watching it afterwards. It was such a delight to meet the Witches, to be inspired by their strength, will and extraordinary accomplishment. It was such a pleasure for me to play with music, footage and those colorful anime. This film aims to share this playful experience and love for cinema to everyone.”Director Julien Faraut
Having worked with the French Sports Institute (INSEP) for 15 years, Faraut has had access to a large and mostly unseen collection of 16mm archival footage. With a fascination for the incredible achievements of highly skilled athletes, Julien’s portfolio of work explores these astonishing human beings through the medium of film, aiming to bridge the gap between sport, cinema and art. His previous feature documentary – “John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection” premiered at Berlinale Forum in 2018, received international acclaim and was selected in more than 50 festivals.
“It was an instant crush for us. The film is a surprisingly fresh, vibrant and universally touching story. The Witches are famously remembered for winning the gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and we think the film has perfect timing. We couldn’t be more excited to come on board!”Anna Berthollet, co-founder and CEO of Lightdox