> SITO IN ITALIANO
Born a Bra (Italy) in 1976.
from PezCycling News
by Leslie Reissner
Bread and butter. Horse and carriage. Italy and…bike racing. Unless you’re Mr. Pez and then it’s Negronis. All of us at Pezcyclingnews carry a torch for La Bella Italia when it comes to cycling and it is clear that the makers of the entertaining video “The Last Kilometer” do as well. Their passion is expressed through a season focused on four very disparate characters.
There are a lot of videos out there about cycling so what makes “L’Ultimo Chilometro” worth having? Well, besides the great old videos that open the film showing races past, it is the work of a fan, someone who loves cycling, and its aim is to disprove its own opening when decrepit Italian journalist Gianna Mura, who has covered the Tour de France since 1967, opines from his startlingly paper-strewn desk that with riders being directed through earpieces pro “racing has lost its adventure.” Present at the Tour the year Tommy Simpson died on Mont Ventoux, Mura has clearly seen a lot of changes and bemoans that the racers are now hidden in their buses away from the fans until five minutes before the start and that Cadel Evans has no panache and there are no real champions anymore and, well, as I have learned old grumpy Germans like to say, “Früher war alles besser,” or “Back then everything was better.”
That is probably pretty much how Davide Rebellin must feel since everything really was better before for him. He is one of the featured players in the film, seeking meaning after his two year suspension for doping and loss of his silver Olympic road race medal. He talks about his love of racing, his desire to win and how, at 41, he still wants to prove himself although he has trouble finding a team and getting in enough race time.
As the film and the 2012 season progresses, he finds a team but not the form that made him one of the finest Classic riders, with triple wins at La Fleche Wallone and victories at Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, San Sebastian and Zurich over his career. He is a man with doubts and is clearly unable to come to terms with his doping suspension and the inevitable winding-down of his career. He did go on to win a French stage race in Languedoc-Roussillon in 2012 but in the video he ages visibly, distressingly, over the season. After he steps off his bike after a disappointing second-place finish in one race, the veins in his temples look like they will rupture; he is terribly gaunt and shell-shocked. He feels he can be a good example for children. At one point in the film he says that because he had concentrated so much on cycling he had given up too many other things in life, making him “half a man.” On the massage table, he is so emaciated he looks more like a 16th of one.
The opposite persona is portrayed by Ignazio Moser, an up-and-coming U-23 racer who, for the most part, looks painfully serious as he tries to build his career. He goes through some tough education, with a team coach who is clearly not willing to sugar-coat his views.
Ignazio is a big, strong good-looking kid and is clearly a fine sprinter. But in addition to all of the pressures that come to bear on a young pro racer, he has an addition burden: the reputation of his father.
Francesco Moser was also a big strong sprinter, strong enough to win the Giro once (and the Points Classification four times), along with the World Championship, Milan-San Remo, La Fleche Wallone, the Tour of Lombardy (twice) and Paris-Roubaix three times, as well as the World Hour Record on an aero bike. He is shown larger than life in “the Last Kilometer” at his vineyard, working a backhoe in a manly way or lounging on a bench, squinting handsomely into the sun, or enjoying a glass of his own vintage.
His son is adamant he is not racing because his father’s name gained him entry and that is probably true but at every race young Ignazio enters in the film the announcers always refer to Dad. Papa does not seem wildly supportive of his youngest son’s racing, pointing out that Ignazio is probably never going to be as good a racer as he was and, besides, he can always come work on the farm. Of course this makes us root all the more for Ignazio.
And he needs all the help he can get as he races the U-23 version of Paris-Roubaix.
One is always amazed at just how awful a race this is, brutally hard and unforgiving.
The young riders give it everything but it takes more than they can deliver, at least for this year.
He loses contact at 107 kms into the race and struggles in with a dejected group.
The scene where he leaves the famous stone showers at the Roubaix velodrome is a downer as you see the name on the plaque when he walks by.
But Ignazio is made of sterner stuff that his Papa would think and one of the sparkling moments of this film, which has a lot of really excellent footage, is when the younger Moser challenges in a sprint finish. His expression after the race is wonderful and shows that the adventure is not dead yet.
Of course, there is another person to whom the adventure is certainly not dead: the Ultimate Fan. This would be the colourful Dietrich “Didi” Senft, the trident-wielding Devil who has appeared in costume chasing racers at every Tour de France since 1993, and probably every other major cycling race as well. The filmmakers catch him at the Giro this year (he was unable to attend the Tour de France for the first time in 19 years due to surgery in 2012) and he is really marvellous.
A highly-imaginative artist, he is addicted to bike racing, which he describes as both the most inconsequential and the most important of all things. His eyes shine, he does his full clown act for the camera, he is completely “on.”
Gianni Mura hates people who dress up at the races (“like Indians,” he sniffs) but Didi Senft is having a great time and, it is obvious, takes care not to interfere with the pros as they go by. He cheers on amateurs as well and is infectiously happy jumping up and down on the side of the road. In a lovely film sequence he paints a bicycle with a big heart below it on the road, working quietly but intently at night before retiring to his wildly-painted van.
The director, Paolo Casalis, lets these interesting individuals tell their stories without interference and we have some additional cast members, including Rebellin’s sympathetic girlfriend Francoise and his father (another perhaps not-so-easy Italian Papa) as well as Cadel Evans, the non-champion, at a BMC team presentation.
A lot of the video selected is very expressive and of the highest quality. In addition to the feature’s 52 minutes of running time, there are a few nice extras, including at lovely little snippet of film made at La Storica, an April-run vintage ride similar to L’Eroica but run in Liguria and tracing part of the historic Milan-San Remo route. A word of warning: in spite of this DVDs many undoubted virtues, the English subtitling is not one of them. Word usage can be downright weird (“unuseful”) or simply wrong. Viewers are better advised to learn Italian, which is better suited to bike racing anyway.
To reach the Red Kite, the Devil’s Flag, when there is only one kilometer left: that is when the race is decided. “L’Ultimo Chilometro” crosses the line in style.
The Last Kilometer/L’Ultimo Chilimetro
By Paolo Casalis, with music by Mario Poletti
A Stuffilm Creativeye Production, 2012
Running time: 52 minutes, in Italian (except for Cadel and Didi, of course) with English subtitles (except for Cadel, of course)
Order at www.produzionifuorifuoco.it/thelastkilometer for 15.90 Euros (shipped worldwide)
by Brian Palmer
link to the original article http://www.thewashingmachinepost.net/
L'ultimo Chilometro dvd €15.90
This has, in a convoluted manner, been a less than successful week, though if looked at from another point of view, it's been pretty darned amazing. The less than successful bit started with ned boulting, though it would be most unfair to implicate him too deeply in the situation, for he is but the innocent bystander. At track centre in the sir chris hoy velodrome last saturday eve was the first time ned and i had met face to face; electronic conversation had been the precedent up till that point. and in the course of our glasgow tete-a-tete, i confessed to mr boulting that i had, in fact, never been to a velodrome before.
It is likely my own fault for giving the impression that there are few corners of the cycling world that have escaped my personal attentions. in fact there are probably a myriad of such. Ned was surprised.
But i then had the opportunity to view this rather fascinating italian cycle documentary entitled L'Ultimo Chilometro, a movie whose title sounds so much more authentic than its english translation The Last Kilometer.
I don't mind admitting that i have every intention of sticking with the former. However, the movie concerns three entirely disparate individuals, one of whom is the son of Francesco Moser. I confess to being less than clued up on the extensive palmares of francsco moser. i do recall him being the progenitor of disc wheels and holder of the hour record set at altitude in mexico in 1984, and i believe i recallL aurent Fignon moaning endlessly about how the helicopter following moser in the Giro d'Italia was responsible for creating a hindering down-draught during the final time-trial.
All i have come across up till this point painted a less than flattering picture of the three-time winner of paris roubaix. however, perhaps not unsurprisingly, in a documentary at least in part concerning his son, he features regularly, and for me is the highlight of the whole affair. I want to be like him when i grow up, even down to buttoning my polo shirt to the neck.
Ignazio moser at 20 is on the upward slope to a career as a professional cyclist, riding for the Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli team, still learning the ins, outs and strategies of cycle racing, but now having transferred to the bmc developmental team and, in 2013, facing his first full season as a professional. While ignazio is on the very precipice of his career, davide rebellin, now 41 years old, is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum, still attempting to continue an illustrious and yet fallible career at the very top. though a rider who has achieved much, he was also the subject of a doping scandal that provided a consequent ban.
In one telling scene, Rebellin's father, driving behind him during a training run in sunny italy, says "the cycling federation want davide to confess guilt. but what guilt? he never told me 'dad, i did this or i did that', so for me his crime doesn't exist at all". I have no idea whether Rebellin is guilty as charged or not, and very much to its credit, the movie does not follow this to any length, but it is telling that both rebellin and his father seem content to bury their heads in the sand over the matter.
The other two characters involved in this fast-paced drama are italian Tour de France correspondent Gianni Mura, who provides sagely comments about the tangible difference between the good old days and contemporary cycle racing.
He, along with Francesco Moser provide the glue that creates the scenery in front of which this seasonal drama unfolds. and colouring this scenery from the point of view of a cycling fanatic, is Didi Senft, better known as il Diablo or Didi the devil. he's the scraggy haired and bearded german who has been as much a part of recent tours and giros as the yellow and pink jerseys, jumping up and down at the roadside, waving a home-made trident at passing riders and team cars.
If i have a minor criticism of l'ultimo chilometro it is that switching sequences between Rebellin and Moser junior are often hard to distinguish, taking a few moments to realise just who is front and centre. But overall, the documentary is a singular triumph; director Paolo Casalis has kept his direction and narrative entirely transparent, allowing the protagonists considerable talking space to tell their own stories without secondary comment. Couple that with some particularly well paced filming, interviewing and editing, and the movie's fifty plus minutes just flash by. Just the way cycle racing ought to be experienced.
Rebellin is a fish out of water, all the while hankering for the level of success that was once his; a man for whom you feel retirement from the sport will not sit at all easily on his shoulders. Ignazio Moser claims to have no wish to be judged by his father's palmares, a rather forlorn hope in such a cycling obsessed country and with such a distinguished surname. Moser senior seems to have no illusion about that which sits ahead of his son saying "here in the vineyards we always need hands to work".
The riders of old often used cycle racing as a means of escaping agricultural drudgery, and it may be that young Ignazio is following tradition, though it cannot be said that the trappings and surroundings during his interviews are even close to rudimentary or rustic. Rebellin too seems still to enjoy the fruits of his erstwhile success, but i fear more for his future than that of Ignazio Loser. L'ultimo Chilometro is a truly excellent window on italian cycling, commenting without making comment. If you speak italian, you can watch 'au naturale; the rest of us must make do with english subtitles.
very, very good.