What a breath of fresh air this film is. After the slog of Helsinki, it was so nice to watch something light and pleasant again. There are issues, of course, but overall this was a joy.
This film features many of the same negative qualities of its immediate predecessors. It’s somewhat sexist, although mercifully less so. It features a few questionable racial comments, but so, so much less so. It focuses on who won, and what the results were. It’s concerned with the successes and failures of the Italian team. But I really enjoyed this film. The difference is, of course, in the details. This film has a perspective, a style, and more to offer than merely a recounting of what happened.
It’s that perspective that makes everything better. This film wants to look at the beauty of athletic endeavor, and the possibilities for peace it brings to the world. It’s well-worn ground of course, but the film does an excellent job exploring old ideas. There are numerous scenes of the athletes outside of their sports, as well as shots of the beautiful natural surroundings. In addition, when the film is showing the sport itself, it does so with a focus on the joy and beauty of the spectacle, using the narration for the specifics of what happened.
The film makes excellent use of cutting together different attempts at a sport, as well as different sports altogether. Bobsled is paired with downhill skiing, speed skating with ice skating. It’s at times a bit hard to follow, but it adds a level of interest that was surprisingly effective. The film has a flow to it, a definitive purpose, and an undeniable style. Turns out that, plus a world class location, and a world class event, is all you need.