For more than 100 years we’ve been riding bikes and going to the movies. In this new dandy series we examine how two of the world’s most noted pastimes intersect. When and how have two wheels been caught on film? Over the next six months I’ll be examining cycling in films. It’s one part film review and one part bike nerd exploration. From coming of age nostalgia, to surreal escapism, to film noir and everything in between, here is the fourth story in the series. You can read parts 1, 2, and 3 by clicking here.
Bikes on Reels Part 4: Parkdale’s the Wild West in Monkey Warfare
Story by Cayley James
In 2006 a little movie, called Monkey Warfare, came out about bike riding anarchists in Toronto. Director Reg Harkema had made his name in the 90s as an editor working alongside noted filmmakers Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar and Guy Maddin. All of whom were instrumental in creating a very distinct voice for Gen-X Canadian cinema. Monkey Warfare, his first feature as director, is a peculiar time-capsule of a city on the brink.
At a brisk 75 minutes the film is a twee, sardonic send up to the ever fraught relationship between bikes and cars, gentrification and authenticity. With its Godard inspired jump cuts, text on screen, and affection for political rhetoric it's clearly inspired by classic French New Wave films like Masculine et Feminine and La Chinoise.