From the East: Julien Faraut on “The Witches of the Orient”

From the East: Julien Faraut on “The Witches of the Orient”
Three years after debuting with the exhilarating essay film In the Realm of the Perfection (2018), about American tennis icon John McEnroe, French filmmaker Julien Faraut returns with a sports-related feature that dives even further into the well of cultural history. In The Witches of the Orient, Faraut looks east, to the story of a women’s volleyball team that became a sensation in Japan on their way to capturing Olympic gold in 1964. Formed in 1953 at the Nichibo Kaizuka textile factory, the team comprised a group of day laborers who by night practiced under the tutelage of a notoriously demanding coach to become an unstoppable force in the world of women’s volleyball, inspiring legions of fans and spawning untold numbers of manga comics and anime television programs in their likeness.Charting the team’s rise from their quaint origins in Osaka to their Olympic victory in Tokyo, Faraut—whose day
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