Tour of Ara
There are few more grueling cycle races on the planet than the Tour of Ara. The 800km stage-race through the South African semi-desert landscape of the Karoo takes place over six days, primarily driven on gravel roads. Ara is the name of the southern star constellation between Scorpius and Triangulum Australe (in Latin: the altar). This film artfully documents the internal right of passage of 40 ardent cyclists, who are willing to put themselves and their vintage steel framed bikes to the test. Rick Wall directs this film with an innate sense of what is transpiring between the competitors, revealing the kinship that developed between them and the communities whose paths they cross – all set against the surreal arid backdrop. When watching this independently produced 34 minute black & white documentary on the big screen, one begins to wonder if the film really is just about this 800km cycle race. It is a warm and sincere impression of the natural human need for adventure and exploration – to pay hommage to things meaningful, true and pure. Tour organiser, Stan Engelbrecht’s explanation of how this unique event was to do something great – to become part of your own dream. One cannot help but feel an urge to either participate or do something similar – to step out of your comfort zone, rattle up the status quo of your life. The slow paced, breathtaking cinematography of Adriaan Louw and the captivating music of cult-composer Nils Frahm completes the film experience wholesomely. This so when exiting the cinema you feel enriched and inspired to start something yourself.