24 February 2013

Film Review: Janapar

Last week, we heard that a bike touring film we had been hearing about, Janapar, would be screening in London. It's not every day we get to see our favourite pasttime represented at the cinema, so we decided to head along and see what has to be one of the most slickly-marketed films about a bike tour that we have seen recently.

The film is a story of one man's round the world cycle tour, which is interrupted when he meets the love of his life midway through the tour. It addresses very well the mental elements of cycle touring, but it's really just about growing up.

The fact that it's not your typical bike tour film had its plusses and minuses. On the one hand, it was nice to see a well-constructed storyline and the fact that it was a love story of course gives it sentimental value. You definitely find yourself emotionally invested in the people you're watching.

However, we've grown accustomed to the typical format of a cycling film and it was a bit jarring to see all the trappings of one, yet with such a different storyline. Although I enjoyed the creative way the film was edited, Alberto missed the linear nature of a typical film in this subject area. I think we both would have liked to see a bit more of daily life on the road, which sometimes fell by the wayside as Tom (the cyclist) does pensive pieces to camera about his thoughts and feelings.

Despite these little niggles, I would thoroughly recommend seeing this film if you get the chance (there are screenings in the UK over the next few months -- although I don't know that I'd pay £16 for the DVD!). There is also a book available, which I am quite curious about, but again it is slightly more than I'm ready to pay at this stage.

Ultimately, the story is aimed at a wider audience than just cyclists, which means it's a bit different from the cycling films you're likely to have seen before, but on the other hand it means you can watch it with your non-cycling partners and  friends, and they'll probably enjoy it just as much as you will!

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