We’re slightly over a month from the kick-off of the 2012 Olympics, and here in London, you can certainly tell: the locals are battening down the hatches, the facilities are desperately getting their last of lick of paint, and it’s already virtually impossible to leave the house without some kind of reminder of the bonanza of track and field events that’ll be taking place from July 27th. But what does the event hold for those who could give a shit about sport? For all the talk of a Cultural Olympiad to take place alongside the games, it mostly seems to involve international poetry slams and Scissor Sisters concerts by the Thames, and we’d rather go see the equestrian events than see either of those.
However, there are a couple of treats in store for film fans. Firstly, Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire“) is responsible for the opening ceremony, unveiling his plans last week — plans which are rumored, though still unconfirmed, to include an appearance by Daniel Craig as James Bond. And next week, four brand new short films from top British directors commissioned especially for the Olympics will premiere, and a trailer for all four has just arrived.
The films are: “A Running Jump” directed by Mike Leigh and led by his “Happy Go Lucky” star Eddie Marsan; “The Swimmer” from “We Need To Talk About Kevin” director Lynne Ramsay, a poetic black & white tale of the titular athlete navigating Britain’s waterways; “The Odyssey,” from “Senna” helmer Asif Kapadia, about London’s journey from the announcement of the games (the day before the terrorist bombing on July 7, 2007), to the present day; and “What If” by “Streetdance 3D” helmers Max & Dania, a reworking of Rudyard Kipling‘s “If” in celebration of British youth culture (which seems to involve parkour, rather than the more common national pastime of drinking cider on park benches until you vomit), with an appearance by “Star Trek 2” actor Noel Clarke.
Only the briefest of snippets are seen here, but all look promising enough, and it’s great to see new work by Leigh, Ramsay and Kapadia getting an airing (Ramsay’s in particular looks absolutely stunning). The films will premiere on June 25th at the Hackney Picturehouse in London, a stone’s throw from the site of the Games, with simultaneous screenings and a satellite Q&A at cinemas around the country — any Londoners can book tickets here. It’s unclear at present when exactly they’ll be aired more widely, but we’d wager they might figure into the opening ceremony, or at least at some point during the games, in a month or so. Watch the trailer below.