The Witches of the Orient(TKO1964)
Factory girls one day, Olympic champions the next: the real-life fairytale of Japan’s Women’s Volleyball team in the early 1960s is vividly retold in The Witches of the Orient. Piecing together archive footage of the athletes hard at training, giving their all in nail-biting matches and mesmerising the media with their modest charm, Julien Faraut’s spellbinding documentary chronicles a group of young women who emerged from a textiles factory in Osaka to embark on a victorious international tour (24 consecutive wins against national teams across Europe) before triumphing at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Spicing up the action with snippets of Attack No. 1 – the legendary manga charting their exploits – as well as new interviews with the ever-graceful (and athletic) players, this is a winning celebration of sporting lives like no other.