The Witches of the Orient

Les Sorcières de l’Orient

France 2021
In Japanese, Russian and French, with English subtitles
100 min
Suitable for audiences of all ages
Director: Julien Faraut
Screenplay: Julien Faraut
Cast: Kinuko Idogawa, Yoshiko Kanda, Yoko Tamura, Katsumi Chiba, Yuriko Nakajima, Kayako Kihara, Ryo Kihara, Chikako Hioki, Hina Hioki, Yuina Hioki
Production: William Jéhannin / UFO Production
Print Source: Lightdox

Following the philosophical tennis documentary John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, Julien Faraut is back with yet another unusual, enigmatic sports film, this time tracing the extraordinary journey of the undefeated Japanese national women’s volleyball team in the 1960s. Assembled from a group of factory workers, these young, initially amateur athletes went to extraordinary lengths to hone their skills, under the stern and ruthless training of head coach Hirofumi Daimatsu. Winners of the gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the team enjoyed a streak of 258 victories, earning the “witches” sobriquet abroad and inspiring a string of pop culture tributes, most notably Chikako Urano’s Attack No 1 manga series.

Phuong Le, The Guardian