The official film of the 1984 Winter Olympics, directed by Kim Takal and produced by Joe Jay Jalbert, bears the hopeful, but sadly non-prophetic, title of A Turning Point. “The Olympics,” it begins, “is capable of touching some greatness in anyone” and, at the very least, can serve as a turning point for individuals.
Unlike previous Olympic films, A Turning Point is presented in precise chronological order, recounting what took place each day. For each event, we are introduced to the leading contenders and the ultimate medal winners. This may not satisfy those who prefer a more artistic film, but the viewer comes away with a good feeling for the participants and the competitions.
Highlights include Jure Franko winning Yugoslavia’s first-ever Winter Olympics medal, a bronze in the men’s giant slalom. An American describes luge as “like riding on a bar of soap.” Sweden’s Gunde Svan, who earned four medals, including two gold, is shown to be the epitome of a cross-country skier, as we see him collapse at the finish line twice, having clearly given it his all. The film concludes with a montage of happy winners.
Mitsubishi must have paid good money for product placement in A Turning Point, as the filmmakers show us Mitsubishi Avenue, a Mitsubishi building and volunteers wearing Mitsubishi jackets.
During the Opening Ceremony, we are told that the spectators and athletes gather “in peace.” Unfortunately, less than ten years later, the bobsleigh and luge track was turned into a Bosnian Serb artillery position, as was the ski jump venue. Zetra Olympic Hall, where British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean and other figure skaters performed their magic in 1984, was reduced to rubble by Serb bombing. It was rebuilt in 1999 with financial help from the IOC.