Monday, February 22, 2016

Creative Demesne

So many are made, not even film critics see every movie. You can find online lists of highly relevant titles, but then you miss independent productions or scenes in others that represent bicycling culture just as well. The more planet’s population grows, the more stories there are to tell. This might make you increasingly selective amidst a vast demesne of what’s expressively creative. Everyone can only stomach so much mayhem, only tolerate cold so often, so turns instead to visual demonstrations of indomitable spirit versus trials both contrived and natural. Working backward from release dates, here are 8 over last decade likely overlooked:

Dark, French, sophisticated comedy Bicycling with Molière (Wanda Films, 2014, dir. Phillippe Le Guay) stars Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson as actors, one trying to lure the misanthropic other out of retirement. Maya Sansa, a bored hotel maid at island’s resort, makes life interesting during offseason.

In American indie comedy Adult World (dir. Scott Coffey, 2013), budding poetess Amy (Emma Roberts) idolizes marginally known but once published Rat Billings (John Cusack). After leaving home, she arrives in Syracuse’s art underground, begins working in a porn shop, and crashes with transvestite Rubia (Armando Riesco). Together on a stolen tandem they remarkably stalk Billings driving home in the snow. Amy is determined to become poet’s protege, but learns that being special is a state of mind and life’s goal is to “fail better” in an Adult World. Positively reviewed, a “smart but wince-inducing satirical comedy” (New York Times) and thoroughly enjoyable, film was barely shown and lost money at box office.

Singletrack High (Pedal Born Films, dirs. Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner, 2012) documents how today’s teen athletes in California gravitate to bicycling, mountain and road, and offers solutions for social awkwardness commonly experienced during high school. View entire hour video.

World documentary With My Own Two Wheels (Pedal Born Films, dirs. Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner, 2011) contrasts the choices made and necessities faced by bicyclists around the globe, and portrays the power of pedaling to improve lives, including “bicitech”, that is, machines made from castoff bicycles that accelerate repetitive tasks for indigenous poor.

Cycling documentary Chasing Legends (dir. Jason Berry, 2010) covers the commitments made by riders who take on challenge of Le Tour de France as seen through eyes of Team Columbia HTC.

German drama Phantomschmerz (Phantom Pain, d. Matthias Emcke, 2009) stars Til Schweiger as an avid cyclist who loses a leg in a hit-and-run only to bounce back. It’s based on life story of Stephen Sumner, who also doubles for Til’s character.

Never mentioned (with good reason) German slasher nasty Blood Trails (aka Gyilkos Hegy, dir. Robert Krause, 2006) about bicycle messenger Rebecca Palmer and her boyfriend Tom Frederic, who go innocently on a mountain biking holiday, only to be stalked by serial killing cop Ben Price, a fellow cyclist with whom she had an accursed fling.

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