Complete concentration: Pushing off, she executes a double handspring to land on her feet, initially onto a line on the floor, then on a slightly elevated exercise bar. The trainer provides correction and support, but after the successful performance immediately turns to the next acrobat. A touch of disappointment can be read in the demeanor of his young protégé. However, little insecurity can be noticed when the girl later appears in competition, as she leaps, jumps, and flips on the balance beam with sparkles in her hair, and securely lands on her feet.
Catrin Freundlinger´s Tokyo accompanies the 12-year-old Viennese gymnast Nicol Wimmer between two competitions. She is seen training on various pieces of equipment, at home and on the road, and interacting with gymnastic colleagues, trainers and her parents. The camera remains on eye level with the athlete as she proceeds with decisiveness and makes considerable physical effort to successfully complete her gymnastic routines. The camera picks up on her refined intuition and does not miss the emotions accompanying the gymnast´s efforts: the mischievous twinkle of her eyes, quiet joy, slight skepticism and great frustration.
This one-hour long film is a documentary distillation of a milieu under observation, focused on training situations. But it is only outside the gym that gymnastics reveals itself to be an urge to move and as a natural form of movement. Nicol practices on the sofa, packs jerseys into her suitcase while doing half-splits, and swings on an improvised balancing bar standing on her parent´s balcony. It is during these observational moments as well as at the gym on professional devices that we get an impression of moments of freedom beyond the duty of her exercise routines. One hopes the gymnast´s exuberance will carry her far in her discipline – all the way to Tokyo in 2020. (Isabella Reicher)
Nicol is twelve years old and an artistic gymnast. Tokyo is a portrait of her, focusing on what is also at the center for Nicol: Training six days a week for the next medal at a competition, dreaming of the Olympics, and devotion to the exercise. (Diagonale Catalogue 2018)