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Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony


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I don't know for certain if the games will help bring Russia into the 21st Century or if they will improve ties with the West. And I am well aware of the problems in Russia under Putin's leadership. But I am hoping the games go well and that humans, somehow, can transcend dual toilets, yellow water, unfinished hotels and all of the other problems we have heard on television for the past few weeks and possibly find some good in each other and allow that to be a lasting legacy of these games.


PS: I also know that 50 billion spent on these venues may, in reality, be the one lasting legacy of these games. That is one astounding chunk of change to drop on a two week event especially considering the poverty endured by many Russian people across that vast land. 50 billion! That number makes the Montreal Olympic Stadium costs to seem like bargain basement prices.

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Please stop derailing the thread with fights. PM's exist for a reason, you know?. Also, thanks for the link, Jmark. Glad to see a video without any pesky commentators on it. I myself downloaded thre

A missing 'leg' would have made it appropriate for the Paralympics!!!!

Not only that, but it becomes the blue circle if you look at it from behind.

I just hope PC's will be nothing like the extremely kitsch Seoul ceremonies and the :blink::blink: opening of World CUp 2002. Well, I guess we'll have a clue at the Handover in 2 weeks.

Can't believe this is the 23rd Olympic Opening Ceremony I've already had the privilege of viewing. (Then there are the other non-IOC ceremonies as well, many thanks to Ikarus for finding and posting them.)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Uh-oh comment from Konstantin Ernst re London ceremony. That's exactly what I thought. Why did Boyle single out GOSH, this one non-sports related institution for a ceremony on an int'l sporting event? It would've been like singling out he US Postal Service or the Westminster Kennel Club for a U.S. ceremony -- or a Cycladic head?? :blink:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2553709/Russian-TV-fakes-Olympic-rings-failing-light.html

The ceremony focused on Russia and Olympic ideals of sportsmanship and achievement. The ceremony's director, Konstantin Ernst, promised ‘relatively simple metaphors’ - and no obscure references, like the NHS nurses in the London Games' opening ceremony, which he called one of the most ‘incomprehensible’ moments in Olympic history.
Edited by baron-pierreIV
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While I agree with his sentiment in light of London's shortcomings, I think its poor form to call them out so explicitly.

Eh. All is fair in love and WAR & PEACE!! ;)

FLASH: BP (British Petroleum) found to have bribed Ceremony technicians NOT to open 5th snowflake in order to have a little "ambush" abvertising!!

bp-logo.gif

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Maybe contemporary South Korea is modern, but actually by far older than Russia. I also do agree with Baron, I find boring any sort of South Korean ceremony. Even North Korean Massive Games look more appealing to me (considering that they're essentially the same year after year, but just the theme changes a bit) than 1988 Olympics, 2002 WC or any Universiade or Asian Games held in S Korea.

What runningrings mentioned is very interesting, emotional ceremonies are always the best! Host cities shouldn't spend so much money to deliver great ceremonies. What really inspired me to be into the Olympics were Barcelona'92 ceremonies. This is one of the few ceremonies I can watch again and again and I still get excited from the beginning to the end. In the other hand, Nagano was solemn, but worked well because the hosting nation. Albertville and Beijing looked impressive, but I get bored easily.

In my point of view, the most innovative ceremonies were Berlin, Moscow, Barcelona and Sydney. Those are the ceremonies that have set the style of current ones. Anyway, I liked Sochi OC.

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I'd like to see a PC opening ceremony which is futuristic. Leave the hokey Korean Pop and such for the closing. How would such a ceremony work/look like?

Maybe this year's Asian Games in Incheon would give us an idea.

Edited by Lord David
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Was the link between Great Ormond Street Hospital and J M Barrie really that obscure that it couldn't be explained in a sentence?

Construction workers or nurses - you can celebrate whatever part of your non-sporting culture or history you want to in a ceremony.

Still - no doubt this has been debated at length for many thousands of posts to no great effect.

Well done Russia - it was a fine ceremony, but then so was London.

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The link (all proceeds of Peter Pan are given to Great Ormond Street ) was explained in the ceremony notes to broadcasters, the BBC told us the link, if other country broadcasters chose not to explain it and educate their audience thats their problem. Im all for a bit of educating people in a ceremony. If people just sit there and say I don't understand it and can't be arsed to educate themselves about the outside world, then you are playing to the lowest common denominator.

That troika thing meant nothing to me. Looked like horses being chased by a flaming doughnut, I went and looked it up, I got educated, it was easy.

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Was the link between Great Ormond Street Hospital and J M Barrie really that obscure that it couldn't be explained in a sentence?

No. The puzzlement is "why is this particular hospital" singled out in an Olympic ceremony that generally celebrates abstract concepts in a host nation's history, culture, what-have-you. And it portrays a real-life institution in silly terms, i.e., singing-dancing nurses & doctors...when that is NOT what they really do. (I understand the 'artistic' license and purpose they were given, but I also see Ernst's quandary because the choice of GOSH bothered me.) Like might not have M5 or the Bletchly Circle (just pulling 2 other institutions out of thing air) maybe have actually contributed a greater value to post-war British life than this particular hospital?? The story of Peter Pan is easily recognizable enough; but knowing that GOSH is the recipient of all PP-Barrie royalties is realy an obscure footnote -- and in the larger picture, what does that have to do in a ceremony that should be tied in to the arrival of an Olympic Games???

Whereas for the Sochi ceremony, yeah, you had to know the 3 horses meant a "troika" from Gogol's DEAD SOULS; and the ball was a recreation of Natasha's first ball from WAR & PEACE (which is a world classic), so most college-educated viewers around the world, could easily grasp that without having to scratch their heads.

That was the crux of Ernst's comment and I totally agree with him. Boyle just seems to be a quirky, funky guy and thus his ideas are kinda scatter-shot; whereas Ernst and the Sochi team I believe come from the more disciplined school of theatre/performing arts who adhere to the stricter guidelines that you portray easily identifiable references...NOT strange, obscure ones like GOSH.

It all boils down to...if you have to have the viewer read up on it and/or a commentator explain that Boedica was blah-blah-blah, then your presentation didn't do its job. And as davey said, he had to look up the significance of the "troika" but I am sure he easily got or was awed enough or entertained by the other portions -- thereby say, batting 4 out of 5 reference points, then the creators have succeeded in making their show relate very easily and painlessly to as large an audience as possible. (Yes, call it the "lowest common denominator" but you want to draw in, entertain the largest international audience as possible -- so you use the most common touchstones. If they are cliche ideas, then present them in new ingenious ways that makes your overall ceremony objective work.

Didn't Sydney have a section about Lawn mowers? What was Konstantin Ernst thoughts on that.

It was cut out in certain coverages. So, if you didn't see it (as I didn't see it in the NBC coverage; I only read about it); then you can't call somebody out on it if one didn't view it.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Oh well - I thought that the GOSH/Peter Pan combination was an innovative and easily explained way of linking two aspects of British culture that the OC organisers wanted to highlight - contribution to world literature and the development of the welfare state.

Not sure that you had to fully grasp the link to enjoy the show either. Main point - let's celebrate the contribution of health workers to society. The fact that someone didn't get a 10 second shot of the GOSH logo doesn't detract from that.

Quite willing to accept that other people found it to be too obscure for purpose.

But criticising the very idea of nurses dancing - whereas construction workers or sheep shearers dancing is fine? Really??

I have no doubt that there were many links and references in the Sochi ceremony that went completely over my head but which meant a lot to the Russian audience (Gogol being just one). I still enjoyed the show.

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But why 'health' workers in particular? Are they the only ones who make a society function ideally? What about the cops? Postal workers? Train workers? Civil servants? Teachers? The Army? The Navy? Sanitation crews? Flight-control workers?? etc., etc. All of those arms of society, if everyone does their job, all contribute to making society function and a civilized structure to live it. Why were they singled out OVER other equally important sectors of working society? That's where I scratched my head...and as I see it now, Ernst also did. (And don't get me wrong, I come from a family of MDs and nurses; and a cousin's wife actually worked at GOSH once.) It's just--why them? Are any of Britain's other hospitals and great medical institutions less worthy of not being singled out as well?

If it was just a springboard for the children's literature/ nightmare sequence...which it was, then it did make for a rather odd choice. Boyle could've launched directly into that by, say, quickly bringing out one of the world's most famous nannies, Mary Poppins. (And I understand the issues of rights were also involved.)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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It's kind of odd that a very simple link between children's literature and the modern welfare state is deemed "incomprehensible" (why??) whilst very odd (when you actually think about them) ancient myths are deemed par for the course. But that says more about people's expectations than anything else I think. London went further than almost any other host in looking at recent acheivements by the host nation - the world wide web, the NHS, TV, pop culture, industry etc. I can understand it wasn't for everyone, or if the presentation didn't appeal, and I did have some problems with it (the camera angles bugged me) but really there ought to be no reason why it was "incomprehensible". That choice of word says more about that particular spectator and their prejudices and expectations than anything else.

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Well exactly - why health workers, why construction workers, why sheep-shearers?

Probably because people in the relevant nations have an emotional connection with those professions beyond their economic value.

Actually would have thought that more people around the world have felt gratitude to health workers over and above "they are doing a good job" than they have ever felt towards construction workers. And that gratitude is especially keen when it comes to saving the lives of children. it may not be strictly logical, but it is emotional.

There's an obvious link between "creating the modern nation" and construction work - but there's an equally obvious, and more innovative in OC terms, link between health workers and "creating the modern society"

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It's kind of odd that a very simple link between children's literature and the modern welfare state is deemed "incomprehensible" (why??) whilst very odd (when you actually think about them) ancient myths are deemed par for the course. But that says more about people's expectations than anything else I think. London went further than almost any other host in looking at recent acheivements by the host nation - the world wide web, the NHS, TV, pop culture, industry etc. I can understand it wasn't for everyone, or if the presentation didn't appeal, and I did have some problems with it (the camera angles bugged me) but really there ought to be no reason why it was "incomprehensible". That choice of word says more about that particular spectator and their prejudices and expectations than anything else.

I think the concept of a 'welfare state' (to me) doesn't sound like fertile ground for something theatrical. It seems very mundane and banal...whereas fairy tales and legends are such rich grounds for visually fantastic interpretations that need very little explanations -- rightly or wrongly. I think that's were the disconnect lies.

Well exactly - why health workers, why construction workers, why sheep-shearers?

Probably because people in the relevant nations have an emotional connection with those professions beyond their economic value.

Actually would have thought that more people around the world have felt gratitude to health workers over and above "they are doing a good job" than they have ever felt towards construction workers. And that gratitude is especially keen when it comes to saving the lives of children. it may not be strictly logical, but it is emotional.

There's an obvious link between "creating the modern nation" and construction work - but there's an equally obvious, and more innovative in OC terms, link between health workers and "creating the modern society"

But see here...you are already going into the deep sociological implications of the choice of GOSH. What Ernst was saying, and again I agree with him -- it was getting too sociological. A ceremony (or at least the school I ascribe to) is to entertain and wow; and if you can impart a history lesson in the telling, then bully for you. But they (Ceremony concepts) shouldn't have too many layers of meaning. One shallow set is fine; and then you move on to the next sequence -- i.e., perhaps it should be experienced on a one-pass visceral level; rather than a cerebral, multi-level reaction to it...which bogs you down for the next sequence. Or at least, that's my amateur analysis of it.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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