We have interviewed Finlay Pretsell about his euphoric and beautiful film ‘Time Trial’. On with the jersey! ‘Time Trial’ is to the sport of bicycling what ‘Leviathan’ was for the fishing film – in other words, the definition of a genre and a true bombardment of the senses! Shot with the most advanced modern technology, the film follows the Scottish Tour de France hero David Millar during his last season in the saddle. The euphoria and the fatigue, the highs and the lows. With cameras mounted on the bike and in an expressive, formal language it is almost as if it were ourselves, who were struggling our way through the bumpy roads of France. But for 41-year old Millar it is also the last shot at a definitive triumph before age catches up with him.
“My key-thing is that I wanted it to be an experience for everyone that doesn’t cycle.” Pretsell says, as we begin talking about his motivation for making his film. Watching cycling on TV can be very nice and almost meditative but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling, sounds and smells of the race for Pretsell. He wanted to be in the middle of a big professional biking team and get another sense of what was going on behind the curtain.
The results are visible to anyone watching. From the speed, chaos, and danger of the sport to the discussions and small-talk between the riders as their moments of boredom turn into excitement really opens up this hidden world to the audience.
“It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful sport. I think it’s magnificent – one of the most beautiful, colorful sports. It’s mystical.” Of course, we talk about doping. Doping has always been the thorn in the eye for professional cycling, as it seems every successful rider has come forward and admitted cheating. Even the famous David Millar, who we follow in the film, was caught using performance-enhancing drugs back in 2004.
The most interesting and intriguing part of the film is going into depth of the person behind. The existential crisis of Millar getting older and finding himself unable to catch up unfolds before our eyes. “I think it’s a universal story.” Pretsell says, “Millar is a tragic hero, in a way, and we can all identify with coming to the end of a period in our life and the sadness of not being able to do something anymore as you get older.” Unlike many others, Millar has been very open to talking about doping after his scandal even though, according to Pretsell, it’s the end of a rider’s career if they get caught.
On the composer of the film, Dan Deacon, Pretsell says: “He was brilliant. Very unique, creative and very hard working. What he learned to love about cycling was the colors, the rhythm and the movement, which for me made him the right man for the job.” Dan Deacon is the artist behind “When I Was Done Dying” amongst much else.
Both in terms of visuals and audio ‘Time Trial’ delivers a unique and exciting opportunity to see the athletes behind their bikes. Whether you are into cycling or sports at all or not doesn’t matter – this is enjoyable for everyone!
We still have two screenings of ‘Time Trial’ so be sure not to miss out – sports fan or not.
Thursday the 22nd of March at 7.30 pm in Empire
Saturday the 24th of March at 8 PM in Hotel Cecil
Watch more about the film and buy tickets right here