We’re not getting much film club stuff done this week, what with two thirds of us on holiday and the Olympics being on. Still, the parallels between sport and film are interesting.
Locog picked a film director to create the London Olympics opening ceremony, and you could see why. The journey through time, space and culture we were taken on was really cinematic. It started with a punchy opening (a film zooming along the Thames to the stadium itself, taking in moments of Olympic history and general Britishness), had dramatic twists and turns, memorable scenes, and was dotted with interesting characters. There were plenty of film references, from Harry Potter and Mary Poppins to James Bond and ET. (And it wasn’t even a typical Danny Boyle film of two halves, like 28 Days Later and Sunshine.)
Sport itself has many qualities of great cinema. The struggles, triumphs and failures are full of art, allowing us to transcend our everyday existence while saying much about the human experience. Jenny and I are particularly fond of the sublime Tour de France, with its developing three-week story, great characters and wonderful settings.
Maybe this is why films about sport are so hit and miss. Sporting events and achievements are so full of drama already, it can seem false to fit them into a scripted narrative with people just acting out the roles.