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Bicycle Film Festival Review
13.10.05 by homer

bicycle film festival
On the 2nd of September most (not all) messengers managed to leave the Duke to attend the annual Bicycle Film Festival – a celebration of bicycle culture through art and film. A huge turnout of messengers and bicycle enthusiasts came to see the 11 short films on display.

The festival kicked off with RedNek Bandit, a film by sometime Cyclone rider Kate Nixa. The film follows an alleycat in London. The production is simple: set up an alleycat, fix a camera to RedNek Bandit’s bike and off you go! As the film opened, laughter broke out through the theatre as the Bandit declares that he’s had 5 pints before racing. More laughs as Seamouse is seen having trouble getting his bike off the railings at the start of the alleycat. The film showed some familiar faces and places in London while the crowd gasped in awe as the bandit weaves through traffic, cuts up cars, rides against traffic and dodges pedestrians. It all climaxed with the bandit jumping a red light heading straight into a truck, but getting taken out by a motorbike. In the bandits words “that’s alleycat racing“. A great film that showed people how alleycats in London are really like!

The following film blew everyone away. Innes Brunn is a German lady who does some amazing tricks on her fixed bike. She flips up her handle bars and off she goes – wheelie on her back wheel with the front wheel spinning as she goes round in circles, front wheel wheelie with her hands in the air, headstand on the saddle as the bike circles round and round… Described as artistic cycling, this is something you would see in a circus.

BIKE KILL RULES!!! The Black Label Bicycle Club is known for setting up seriously insane bike events all over the US. This is pure destruction and nihilism! A bunch of punks that don’t give a fuck riding around on all sorts of weird and wonderful home made bikes, trikes and high bikes trying to ride over (or into) a mountain of mattresses while trash is being thrown at them. The bike throwing event was hilarious to watch with bikes landing on the crowd, and the finale of high bike jousting was completely nuts but looked like a lot of fun. Black Label really captures the imagination……….

Compared to bike kill, Diversion in Brazil was a really ‘nice’ film. The film exposed us to some great BMX riding on the streets of Sao Paolo. These guys have been riding for over 20 years with no money or sponsorship – just doing it for the love of it! Some real breathtaking tricks and original/creative runs! The film showed a great community spirit, with riders always meeting new people and finding new talent.

The animation Dead People Ride Bikes Too, was weird to say the least. It’s only a minute long and it goes like this: woman in car – ghost on bicycle appears in front of her – emergency brakes squeeze as woman tries to avoid ghost – woman gets rammed into by the car behind – in car behind is a fat guy eating junk food and having a go at woman for stopping – woman then gets on bike with ghost and both ride off. Didn’t get it, but someone probably did and loved it!

Monster Track IV is an alleycat for fixed gears only. Set on one of the coldest days in New York City this showed some real hardcore riding around the city. The long wide streets of NYC made this feel like a computer game, with the soundtrack adding to that. The limited filming position – camera strapped on bike – still caught some great realistic shots of the action as the guy with the camera pretty much stuck to the wheels of the front riders. All kinds of cheekiness from the racers: touching/grabbing/rubbing cars and high five’ing pedestrians!

If you have ever seen and liked Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon, the fictional film On Time is right up your alley. This is an 80’s comedy classic with the soundtrack to boot. Jimmy, a NY city courier, has to deliver a package ‘on time’ while all kinds of obstacles occur on the way like having his front wheel stolen, getting chased by gangs, wheeling away from a policeman onto a train … .On delivery, security doesn’t allow him in with his bike – “ Rules are rules”. The addressee, surly and rudely signs for the package with 2 minutes to spare. As Jimmy exits the building the package he delivered blows up. Very funny classic 80’s film which went down a storm.

MSGR-HOLIC VOL.1 is a film of Kyoto Loco, an international meet in Japan which attracts messengers from all round the world. The most professional looking film, it showed great animated sequences explaining the variety of events. The funniest bit was the team race, where you get radios and are given jobs by the controller. Having a Japanese controller made for some great confused facial expressions from the foreign messengers who didn’t have a clue about what he was going on about. A very relaxed, but hectic film on Japanese track bike culture with some great shots of the city!

Ted Shred is a crazy dude, Bomb Bay feat. Ted Shred shows the legendary ex-skater and DJ riding down the hills of San Francisco with no brakes, MAD! Did I mention that it’s a freewheel? FUCKING NUTCASE!!! Only way to slow down is to whack your foot on the back tyre with a fast thinning shoe sole – try doing that on a 700 wheel! His style of Dj’ing really went with his riding, scratch vinyl – scratch rubber. Needless to say he survived the hills of San Francisco, but crashed into a wall at walking pace, funny guy …

Messenger followed Alfred Bobe Jnr., “the fastest messenger in NYC”, for a day. This was a rather poetic and philosophical portrait on being a messenger. It was beautifully shot, with nice views of NYC. It really caught the energy of being a messenger. Compared to the other films it did feel very slow paced, but then it was the day in the life of a messenger and it’s not exciting all the time – or is it!?

As some people know The Warriors is an awesome film which was released back in ’79. In august 2002, 800 riders in the shape of 89 gangs went to NY to relive it. The route was the same as in the film, from the Bronx to Coney Island, with lots of checkpoints on route. Among these checkpoints were pool competitions, wrestle Ming (huge Chinese dude), one team member to have a tattoo… A lot of laughs came from the lost Viking, trekking through the hood and ending up in a wedding. Towards the end the film kept jumping (scratched DVD) which was a bit of a let down.
Some teams made it to Coney Island, some went to bed, some went swimming, some went home… The Warriors was a huge and successful event and the film captured the chaos of it wonderfully.

As the show was coming to a close the stench of messengers kept rising and it was time to leave, go to the Duke for a drink and a smoke and talk endlessly about the experience. For the inspired there was an alleycat that took in all the bridges. The Bicycle Film Festival came and conquered, and there was still 1 day left. Can’t wait for next year! Come back soon, please.

Written by Homer with help from Catt, Pretty Boy & Blacksheep.

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