Original Film Poster
A sensory ride through the thrill and hardship of professional cycling. We are hurtled off a hillside, details blurring like watercolours. The euphoria and the fatigue, the highs and the lows. It’s as if it were ourselves struggling through the bumpy roads of France. David bluntly and fearlessly narrates his last season in the saddle, intimate and immediate, along with the intricate relationships of cyclist, road crew, fellow competitors, manic fans, and the media circus surrounding it all.
This film touches the senses. Taking us into a bike race like never before. The perpetual succession of races. Director Finlay Pretsell wanted to create a “hyper-reality”, transferring his own feeling of what it felt like to race on that bike, in that peloton.
The chaotic cornucopia of race sounds: gears changing, fans screaming, wind bellowing, constant radio communication with teammates, team staff and race organisers creating a vivid soundscape entirely from David’s perspective. Pieced together from a plethora of race situations, an otherworldly anamorphic lens captures and reflects the idiosyncratic qualities of the cyclist. Whether it be talent or just sheer focus and endless training of the mind – a combination of the two. The mesmeric effect of the repetition of the pedal stroke, as David speeds through the omnipresent, menacing and sometimes suffocating landscape.
We discover what it takes to race at this level, what David has come through and, as he nears retirement, where he is going.
The best films are like experiences, they take us on a journey into a world we would never normally have access to. Finlay Pretsell’s previous films aimed to make people feel what it is like to be a velodrome cyclist, an ageing weightlifter or an institutionalised prisoner. In this film he wanted to be as close as possible to participating in the race with David.
Scottish-born David Millar bought his first road bike aged 15 and when he turned 18 he moved to France to race. Two years later, in 1997, he was offered his first professional contract leading the biggest French team, Cofidis. He was soon winning stages of the Tour de France, La Vuelta a Espana and World Championships before receiving a suspension for doping in 2004.
Since then, based on his experiences, Millar has become an authoritative voice on anti-doping. In 2008, he became part-owner and rider for the Garmin Slipstream team who became renowned for their strong anti-doping stance.
Since his resurgence as a clean cyclist, Millar has made his mark as one of Britain’s most successful road cyclists, with stage wins in all three of the Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuelta a Espana) as well as winning the gold medal in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the silver medal in the same event at the UCI Road World Championships that same year.
Sonja Henrici, Finlay Pretsell
Iain Smith, Noe Mendelle,
Avril Millar, Leslie Finlay,
David Millar, Thomas Dekker
Cycling Films, SDI Productions, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland
© MMXXI Sonja Henrici Creates Ltd. SC683070