January 18, 2022

“Sport & Cinema”, an encyclopedia enriched with a few novelties in the cycling department

That’s it, Christmas is behind us. Here we are free to return to these books that we were about to offer, and that we ultimately did not offer because we wanted them for ourselves. Released at the end of November, the new, increased edition of “Sport & Cinema” is at the top of this pile.

In 2006, when they began to identify fictional films around sport, Gérard and Julien Camy – father and son – did not imagine achieving this quasi-exhaustiveness. ” Moreover, comments Julien, it was not until 2015 that we found a publisher crazy enough to accept this project, which took on unexpected dimensions, in particular because we had not planned to dig into all sports. »

Bringing the words of filmmakers and athletes closer together

Over time, the company has therefore taken an encyclopedic turn, imposed by an increasingly marked inclination of the seventh art (and artists in general?) Towards the world of sport. Thus, between 2016, date of the first edition, and today, the authors have identified “ over a hundred new films », New sports appearing on the screen, such as kite-surfing, inline skating, Gaelic football, or … kabaddi (team sport of Indian origin).

In total, “Sport & Cinema” compiles nearly 1,600 films. And again, for obvious reasons of coherence, is this real sum limited to fiction films, to which must be added ” some documentaries made by filmmakers, specifies Julien Camy, such The Greatest, Tom Gries’ film about Ali, The French, that of William Klein on Roland-Garros or the Maradona of Kusturica. »

Julien and Gérard Camy. (Aurelie Lamachere / French Cinema Critics Union)

However, not content with offering most of them a brief critical review, Gérard and Julien Camy also wanted ” bring together the two words: those of athletes and those of filmmakers or actors “. The book therefore contains numerous exclusive interviews granted to the authors as well by the filmmakers Ken Loach, Régis Wargnier, Hugh Hudson, Jean-Jacques Annaud or Philippe Harel, as by Evander Holyfield, Billy Mills, Jackie Stewart, Emmanuel Petit, Teddy Riner, Luc Alphand, Isabelle Severino, Virginie Dedieu, or Bernard Hinault – to name a few.

Cycling is in ” mid-pack, as for its representation in the cinema, far behind football – more than 300 films – or boxing – more than 600 », Says Julien Camy. Of the thirty or so cycling films cataloged here, some are known (leading, of course, Ghislain Lambert’s bike Where The Band of Four) and others less (Nasu, an Andalusian summer; Come on Eddy! …). Some are great movies, some are less, some are downright bad.

Cycling: “friends” or competition films

Four newcomers in this new edition of the book, which like all cycling films according to Julien Camy, “ are divided between films of friends and films on the race or the life of the peloton. »Of course, the delusional Tour de Pharmacy escapes this rule, a sort of “documenter”, to use the obviously double-sided title of a film by Agnès Varda.

Most Ventoux, by Dutch director Nicole van Kilsdonk, Where The Climb by the American Michael Angelo Corvino, are indeed sentimental comedies, in which the bicycle acts as a context, even marking the common thread of existence.

The formidable opening scene of the second is already a classic, which shows the two main characters – two inseparable friends – riding a collar side by side, until one confesses that he has slept with the woman that l other is about to marry!

And, as their titles indicate enough, The Racer (from Kieron J. Walsh, 2020) and Runner (Kenneth Mercken, 2019) are interested in competition, in that it involves both darker and brighter.

Niels Willaerts and Fortunato Cerlino in “Runner”. (Koen Mortar)

Niels Willaerts and Fortunato Cerlino in “Runner”. (Koen Mortar)

If the former suffers from obvious weaknesses, the latter is a great sports film. The fact that the director and his main actor were both genuine top runners obviously has a bearing on the film’s credibility and raw realism.

But to those, one can understand them, that would reject the time and the topics approached, it is necessary to announce the purely cinematographic qualities of the film. Okay, it’s about doping, second-class teams, very low-end managers, and the hero’s peroxidized hair is reminiscent of the ghost of Frank Vandenbroucke: jawbreaker, a minima !

But Kenneth Mercken plays brilliantly against these known pitfalls. Morality or cheating are not his subject, and he delivers a reflection on the mystique of the body and the effort, supported by an often sumptuous photograph. For Julien Camy, who emphasizes “ the last masterful shot “, It is also a film” on the transmission ».

For now, the film has not been sold in France, it is on DVD that we can see it.

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