Monday, January 19, 2015

Imperial Treasures Master Artisans of Japan



Imperial Treasures Master Artisans of Japan / Nhk World / August 30, 2014 / 49min


Japan's Imperial family has long taken under its patronage craftsmen whose works now form a treasured collection handed down over generations. During the Meiji period (1868-1912), when trade with other countries was resumed after 200 years, the artisans' skills and creations became a matter of national prestige. From exquisite ceramics, cloisonné and tapestry to a masterpiece of metalwork that cannot be replicated, this is the little-known drama behind the Imperial Collection of Japanese art.
via: NHK

Sunday, January 18, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Jordan Rides the Bus

2010-VIII-24 | Color | English | 51min | Directed by Ron Shelton


About Jordan Rides the Bus 
Film Summary 
In the fall of 1993, in his prime and at the summit of the sports world, Michael Jordan walked away from pro basketball. After leading the Dream Team to an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and taking the Bulls to their third consecutive NBA championship the following year, Jordan was jolted by the murder of his father. Was it the brutal loss of such an anchor in his life that caused the world's most famous athlete to rekindle a childhood ambition by playing baseball? Or some feeling that he had nothing left to prove or conquer in basketball? Or something deeper and perhaps not yet understood? Ron Shelton, a former minor leaguer who brought his experiences to life in the classic movie "Bull Durham," will revisit Jordan's short career in the minor leagues and explore the motivations that drove the world's most competitive athlete to play a new sport in the relative obscurity of Birmingham, Alabama, for a young manager named Terry Francona. 
Director's Take 
The sports world of the 90s began with Michael Jordan's transcendent dominance of pro basketball. Leading the Chicago Bulls to three successive championships from 1991 through 1993, he became not just an icon in the U.S., but all over the world. He was bigger than basketball, bigger than sports. 
But, in 1993, two occurrences in his life altered the course of his unparalleled career. First, was the revelation that Jordan loved to gamble. Second, on July 23, 1993, was the roadside murder of his father in North Carolina. Then, that fall, clearly and deeply shaken, Jordan shocked the sports world by announcing he was quitting basketball, and soon thereafter decided to pursue a career in baseball. 
In early 1994, he signed with the Chicago White Sox and in March was assigned to the Double-A Birmingham Barons. Some in the sports media attacked him but his new teammates embraced him. He played cards with the guys, took the road trips, worked hard and showed up every day as if he were making a few hundred a week like everyone else. 
After that one long, inglorious season, Jordan quit baseball and rejoined the Bulls in March of 1995. Now 32 years old and rusty, some questioned whether he would regain his greatness. He responded by leading Chicago to the best regular-season record in NBA history in the 1995-96 campaign and three more consecutive championships. 
At a personal level, I've always felt that this chapter in Jordan's life was misunderstood. Instead of being an exercise of his ego, it was quite the opposite. The press and public never allowed him to have that moment, that year away to pursue his own dream. Also, as a former professional baseball player who labored for several years, grinding up the ladder one bloody notch at a time, I have a unique appreciation for how difficult this world is. The bus rides, the lack of days off, the daily routine of it all can be brutal. Pitchers are wild, lights are bad, and injuries are a daily occurrence. There's nothing like this in sports history: The greatest player of all time in one sport submits himself to the gauntlet that mere mortal athletes have to go through daily. 
Having failed, his return to the NBA is all the more remarkable, and a testament not only to his talent but his enormous will.
via: ESPN

Friday, January 16, 2015

Once Brothers



Once Brothers | 2010-X-12 | 79 min | Written and directed by Michael Tolajian


About Once Brothers

Film Summary 
Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights. After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrovic's Croatia and Divac's Serbia. Long buried ethnic tensions surfaced. And these two men, once brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war. As Petrovic and Divac continued to face each other on the basketball courts of the NBA, no words passed between the two. Then, on the fateful night of June 7, 1993, Drazen Petrovic was killed in an auto accident. "Once Brothers" will tell the gripping tale of these two men, how circumstances beyond their control tore apart their friendship, and whether Divac has ever come to terms with the death of a friend before they had a chance to reconcile.
Vlade Divac's Personal Statement 
As a young basketball player growing up in Yugoslavia, it didn't take long to realize that I had a chance to be part of something special. I was 18 when I signed my first pro contract and was called upon to play for my national team. 
By the late 1980's, a new generation of Yugoslavian talent had come together, and eventually we'd all make it to the NBA -- myself, Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja and the great Drazen Petrovic. Together we won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics, followed by first-place finishes at the European and World Championships ... it seemed no one could stop us. 
Besides forming a great combination on the court, Drazen and I also shared a strong friendship. We thought we'd play forever, but powerful forces beyond our control - political and personal -- kept us from realizing some of our dreams. This is my journey to understand an enduring sense of loss - of my team, our shared future and the people I once considered my brothers.
via: ESPN

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Other Dream Team



The other dream team / Directed by Marius Markevicius / September 21, 2012 / 89 min

About: 
Lithuanian basketball players, notably Arvydas Sabonis and Šarūnas Marčiulionis, were forced to play for Russia in the1988 Olympics in Seoul. There were four starters from Lithuania who were on the Russian team. The players were promised that they could play in western teams if they won the Olympics. The Russian team did win the gold. Marčiulionis became the first Soviet player to join the NBA. Sabonis was actually the first Lithuanian to be drafted onto an American team but because of the Iron Curtain he was not allowed to leave. Not only that but Americans did not like that he was a "Russian" player.They didn't understand the distinction in nationality nor really understand the composition of the Soviet Union. 
The Lithuanian team had a small budget allocated to them for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Because of an article written in a local newspaper, the Grateful Deadwas moved by the team's plight and funded their trip to the Olympics. Artist Greg Speirs from New York was also moved by the team's plight and created the iconic Slam-Dunking Skeleton on the tie-dye shirts which were made in the colors of the Lithuanian flag. The skeleton pictured on the shirt was slam-dunking a basketball symbolizing a phoenix rising from the ashes according to the artist who created it. 
The Lithuanian team had no illusions of beating the American Dream Team in the semifinals. In the bronze medal game, they were pitted against the Russians. The game became a larger symbol of reborn Lithuania fighting for its freedom and recognition. It was a close, nerve-wracking game that the Lithuanians could not lose. In the end, the Lithuanians beat Russians by four points. The team wore their slam dunking skeleton tie-dye uniforms to accept their bronze medals
via: wikipedia