By: Addison Wylie
Montrealer Giuseppe Marinoni is a respected inspiration who builds bicycles. His work continues to be appreciated by cyclists worldwide. But, what a peculiar fellow he is.
Marinoni’s attitude changes like the wind. One moment, he’s freely talking to documentarian Tony Girardin about the process behind his constructions, and the next minute, he’s berating the filmmaker for asking silly questions. Then again, the 75-year-old has a dry sense of humour that could only be tapped into with a chainsaw. A lot of what Marinoni conveys is so thickly rooted in sarcasm, that it’s easy to misinterpret his tone. The audience warms up to Giuseppe Marinoni as fast as Girardin does.
Tony Girardin set out to make a documentary about Marinoni due to his enigmatic persona and his wide appreciation. There’s also the added interest of Giuseppe aiming to surpass a world record for cycling. Everything about Marinoni is deeply interesting to Girardin, however I don’t believe the filmmaker expected to return with such an intimate doc.
Over the course of Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame, the friendship between the filmmaker and his subject grows. Marinoni’s story is interesting on its own, but it’s arguable that watching and listening to the ever-forming relationship on camera holds more water. The camaraderie steadies the film all the way to the final scenes showing Giuseppe Marinoni pushing himself to earn a golden title.
The nuts and bolts of the documentary are decent enough. The pacing is agile without cutting corners, and all the interviews with friends and family add kindness and admiration to the project. Meanwhile, the quality of the camerawork (also executed by Girardin) had me worried about how the film would look on a big screen, and I was also wishing Girardin had opted for a professional narrator instead of casting his own deadpan vocals for the task.
However, as far as first features go, Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame is absolutely acceptable.