CYCLEFILM’s Markus Neuert has been making a small name for himself in the cycling film world. But, since this isn’t exactly the realm of our technical forte we’ll leave the reporting on this to Pez Cycling News, one the sites that can cover all realms of cycling.
However, I am here to review his latest release, Eyes Wide Open – The Making of Cyclepassion 2011. The film is, of course, full of beautiful women but it’s not where you’ll catch a Janet Jackson style wardrobe slip. Markus’ clear intention is to show us the athletic side of every girl in the calendar. In this regard the video flawlessly transitions the concept of Cyclepassion from print to film and does what the calendar cannot by weaving a narrative of the athlete into that of the photo shoot. The entire film gracefully balances sensuality vs athleticism, the same issues female athletes often encounter. We’re preview to stories of what the girls want outside of and after racing. Tales of growing up bike racers are intertwined with those that stumbled into the sport with a natural gift. Some girls spend more time justifying “why” while others just seem to roll with the fun environment watched over by the almost matronly figure of Anke Wilken. With the personal stories and styles the documentary lets us know every athlete a little bit more and I find myself liking almost all of them more because of it.
The second narrative of the story is that of the calendar itself. Anke Wilken is open in her discussions about her roll with the calendar. The transition of being somewhat of just a sexy bicycle calendar using hired models to the collaboration with photographer Daniel Geiger and the inclusion of only professional cyclists. With the new format bringing a list of new issues from managing each athlete’s personal image to working with amateur models.
Obviously if you own more than two of the Cyclepassion Calendars already or if you’ve thought about buying an out dated “collectors” calendar you probably already own this. For the rest of you, for myself, getting the DVD takes a bigger leap. I for one thought it would be hard to shoot a hour and fifteen minute video about a calendar photo shoot. But with the interviews and the racing footage spliced in the time goes by fast, maybe a little too fast. For me, my copy is definitely going into rotation on the shop TV and I’m interested to see where Markus takes the film next year.