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Issey Miyake Brings Gymnastics to the Big Screen

A new documentary chronicles a men's rhythmic gymnastics team's special performance in Tokyo.

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A promotional image for the film Flying Bodies

A promotional image for the film "Flying Bodies"

Photo By Courtesy Photo

TAKING FLIGHT: Back in July, Issey Miyake invited a men's rhythmic gymnastics team from northern Japan to stage a special performance at Tokyo's Yoyogi Stadium. The designer crafted a series of special pleated costumes for the athletes and enlisted the help of his friend Daniel Ezralow to choreograph the show, filled with gravity-defying jumps, light projections and massive swathes of blue silk.

"Flying Bodies," a new documentary film by Hiroyuki Nakano, provides behind-the-scenes footage of the intense training sessions and preparations that went into the performance as well as insight on Japanese athletes' highly disciplined lives and the sport itself. (Japan claims to have pioneered the men's form.) The university team hails from Aomori Prefecture, which is part the Tohoku region battered by the 2011 tsunami.

Issey Miyake has already held a couple screenings of the film for the press and his friends. The 76-minute documentary will make its cinematic debut at Tokyo's Theatre Shinjuku on Nov. 30 before making its way to Osaka. But it's clear that Nakano has broader ambitions for the film, which he said was originally conceived as a video for the web before blossoming into an "indie movie." Nakano, who directed the 1998 comedy-samurai film "Samurai Fiction", said he is hoping television channels like Arte or HBO might pick up "Flying Bodies" and broadcast it to an international audience.

"It's a little bit different from Cirque du Soleil, it's much more of an [athletic] thing, but it's also entertaining," he said.

 

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