The fine art of the motorcycle film has hit a speed hump in recent years. Raw and gritty paens to the alternative lifestyle are harder to find. And easy access to broadcast-quality DSLR recording has caused a rise in quantity rather than quality.
But it’s not all showers of sparks from angle grinders, or softly-spoken men with beards muttering dreamy platitudes. Here are six terrific films that we’ve enjoyed recently, including a couple of old favorites—and a very enticing trailer.
ON ANY SUNDAY, THE NEXT CHAPTER Released back in ‘71, On Any Sunday is one of the best-loved motorcycle films of all time. Directed by Bruce Brown—famous for the surf classic Endless Summer—it captured the spirit of motorcyling in a way that even non-riders could understand. And deservedly won an Academy Award nomination.
A sequel is now being readied for release, directed by Bruce’s son Dana Brown and shot using 4K Ultra HD equipment. On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter is backed by Red Bull, KTM and Skullcandy, and the PR machine is about to hit top gear.
Fortunately, the trailer suggests that the film will live up to the hype. It’ll hit theaters in the USA on November 7.
LONG LIVE THE KINGS Clement Beauvais and Arthur de Kersauson scored a king hit with this oddball six-minute documentary. Released two years ago, it follows the lads from Blitz Motorcycles on a roadtrip through France. Shot on Super 16 film, it’s a beguiling mix of edginess and elegance.
If you like Kings, keep an eye out for Beauvais and de Kersauson’s new full-length documentary, The Greasy Hands Preachers. It’s just premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival, with Orlando Bloom on board as executive producer. Early reports are mixed for that one, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve seen it ourselves.
TOM FUGLE If the name Scott Pommier sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen his peerless motorcycle photography—often monochrome, but always atmospheric. Pommier has now made a five-minute film: a profile of veteran builder Tom Fugle.
Fugle is one of the founders of the El Forastero outlaw motorcycle club—which counted artist Dave Mann amongst its members. But this film is about Tom’s passion for bikes, and mighty fine it is too.
WAITING OUT WINTER Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This is Andrew David Watson’s homage to craftspeople who spend cold days inside their workshops, building and fettling, and waiting for better weather. If you’ve ever shivered inside your garage while working on your bike, you’ll sympathize.
CHENNAI TO PONDICHERRY Director Skylar Nielsen took a crew on a motorcycle tour of Southern India, and the result is as tasty as a hot masala dosa. The trip south down the East Coast Road was eye opening, and Nielsen has somehow captured the mayhem of being surrounded by thousands of cars, tuk-tuks, cows, goats, and dogs. Sensory overload at its finest.
SHINYA KIMURA—CHABOTT ENGINEERING This is the gold standard: the film that raised the bar, and every other director looks up to. It’s four years old now, but has lost none of its appeal. Director Henrik Hansen takes us on a trip into the world and mindset of Shinya Kimura, the enigmatic Japanese builder who set up Zero Engineering and now practices his craft in the small town of Azusa, California.
He’s one of the few builders who can command more than $100,000 for his work, and after watching this, you’ll see why. It’s two minutes and 45 seconds of perfection.