The Greasy Hands Preachers is a feature documentary film that was shot on 16mm film during the summer months on 2013. All of the hard work has paid off as the film is finally complete and available to rent or buy via Vimeo. The films explores the values and the benefits of manual work that are present amongst recherché motorcycles enthusiasts.
As Robert Graves once said “There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” The making of this 88-minute documentary is an ode to just that. This film is truly moving poetry about the passion, people and creativity that surrounds motorcycle culture worldwide. Money is necessary to create a film like this and without the help of passionate people this film wouldn’t have happened. The documentary was funded by individuals all over the world via Kickstarter where $103, 705 was pledged. Several of the most notable bike builders also chipped in, as well as some corporate sponsors such as Belstaff, BMW Motorrad and Motul. The production took the talent, dedication and full commitment of the film makers. Bottom line, it was a global group effort from thousands of hands including celebrity bike enthusiasts such as Orlando Bloom.
Prior to watching the documentary I learned that it was shot on real film, in fact, Super 16mm. This was extremely exciting, the raw essence of film paired with the raw essence of motorcycle culture. Instead of digital video, which often is over processed and edited to create a crisp, colorful and meta-like world. The resulting use of film brings a warm, diffused color palette which complements the overall theme; the very human emotive-passion of love where riders rely on primitive tools and methods to shape the two wheels that enhance and move their souls.
The documentary is shot in different locations around the world and includes some of the respected builders and tastemakers of each place. Shot in the United States in SoCal and the Bonneville Salt Flats, with notable people such as Michael Woolaway of Deus ex Machina and Roland Sands of RS Designs. Shot in Spain featuring David Boras and the crew behind El Solitario. Shot in Paris with Fred Jourden and Hugo Jezegabel of Blitz Motorcycles. The film was shot in Scotland and Indonesia as well and features other notable builders and their up-close and personal stories.
The Greasy Hands Preachers Documentary had its World Premiere at the 62nd San Sebastian Film Festival in Basque, Spain back in late September 2014.
The film features an flavorful-array of unique bikes and riders, their stories and take on life. Savoir-faire characters with unwritten rules, folkways, different trials and tribulations get to all to meet on film through a praxis of shared poetry in motion and pure unaltered spirit.
The film is edited into five chapter segments. My favorite aspect of the film is how it focuses more on the grit and spirit of the people, rather than any particular motorcycle. This way the people are highlighted which is what matters and competition amongst bikes is left out. Resulting in the human condition of comradeship and the established way of life that nurtures each over the continents.
Various languages are spoken in the film, meaning captioning is necessary for most. The differentiating languages really improved the visceral feeling emoted by the film. Motorcycle culture is worldwide and stays very much alive by important people of different nationalities as highlighted in the film. The different dialogue and linguistic gaps are null and void due to the special moments and visuals that anyone of can relate to and find meaningful. The visuals of a group of riders engulfed in fog while flying down a mountain road will leave you mesmerized.
When Shinya Kimura spoke he emphasized the importance of balancing the technical, aesthetic and powerful draw the motorcycle creates between some some of us. “The vulnerability and the thrill,” as Shinya puts it.
FOUR WHEELS MOVE THE BODY. TWO WHEELS MOVE THE SOUL.
The film has beautiful cinematography and features a few panning shots following the motorbikes that are simply beautiful. It makes you feel the sense of thrill the bikes create and how quiet and majestic some of the environments are until the silence is interrupted by the happy cries of the petrol combusting machines.
A lot of the riders live a blue-collar life and love it for the purity it provides. The film really makes you think of your own dreams and passions. These guys are living by their passions, are you on the same path? We are all in the pursuit of happiness, so find what makes you happy and live by it. Maybe a simple life would be beneficial for you.
Nous avons tous l’expérience de la vie dans une perspective différente. Nous partageons des expériences. Nous aimons, créer et partager. Nous devons chérir ce qu’on nous donne et ce que nous gagnons. Nous devons apprécier ceux qui sont dans nos vies. Nous devons tenir nos proches près. Nous devons aller après nos passions et de ne pas succomber à l’échec. Le film est une expression de la moto joi de vivre. Prenez-le comme une leçon.
Well, that’s my current take on the documentary. Now it is time for you to watch the film and add your on take on it. Feel free to express your reactions in the comments, or you can share and add them to the voids that are social media. Check out the plot outline and more photos below. Enjoy!
The Plot Outline provided by the makers:
A biker crossing a beautiful landscape is an image that, for most, conveys the idea of freedom. However, the mechanic who builds and repairs this bike remains perceived as proletarian with dirty hands, a man who is without a doubt dominated in the economies of knowledge. How did this generalized devaluation of manual labour create the image of a man in his garage as a prisoner of his own intellectual and financial misery? We can often recall hearing this saying at school: “if you don’t work you’ll end up a mechanic”. As if our good report cards would forever prevent us from becoming poor and stupid.
However, recently, the media has taken a liking to this new wave of handymen who seem to have deliberately chosen their track: from vintage motorcycle customizers to bakers, the fact that they are good with their hands hasn’t been a cause for lack of respect. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Often it’s white-collar workers who no longer find meaning in the contemporary working world. They have rediscovered the virtues of “savoir-faire”, the pleasure of building something tangible by seizing control of a method of production fit for their level and, above all, the satisfaction of understanding what they are doing. So, while the contemporary working world renders the act of “working” obscure by relentlessly continuing to separate the conception from the carrying out and the doing from the thinking, these new craftsmen see in the art of mechanics a way of finding a grip on reality. And, if we look at it closely we can see that there’s a lot more to it than it seems.
Amongst these bikers/craftsmen are those who walk the path to becoming a sensei. They seek perfection in their art without any financial rationality. Their lives are dedicated to this priesthood of seeking perfection; and of going against most things by achieving a certain generosity in their work. Others are, above all, interested in traveling on the machines they’ve created, giving a soul to their motorcycles by redesigning them to fit their own images. But all of them, as craftsmen, gain an honest satisfaction from both the actual physical and practical side and the marvel of the person for whom the machine is meant to be for.
Even if they all demonstrate the same kind of enthusiasm, they remain individualistic in their approach to work. Building a motorcycle is an affirmation of your personality. But, at some point, comes the need to share. Where it be on a road-trip, at a race or at a festival, there is always a sense of community, a “band of brothers”, that involves the enjoyment of being together. There is, in this crude world of mechanics and bikers, a need and desire that reveals an original outlook on work and pleasure, on the group and the individual, on the present and the past. Like surfers, bikers are dedicated to an authentic lifestyle and pure freedom while remaining in connection with the beauty of nature. It makes you wonder if they don’t have in their garage all the tools to build a happy life.
A quote that I’m personally very fond of and find highly appropriate for this film is by the great racer and actor Steve McQueen. “My influences come from real life. I’m not interested in cinema for cinema’s sake. I’m interested in life—what one does and how one interacts.”
Starring: DEUS, ROLAND SANDS, BLITZ, SINYA KIMURA and EL SOLITARIO and many others
Directed by: A film by Clement Beauvais and Arthur de Kersauson
Written by: Arthur de Kersauson and Clement Beauvais
Produced by: Arthur de Kersauson
The Greasy Hands Preachers Documentary is a beautiful art film that explores the winsome relationship between manual labor, creativity, motorcycles and the ever coveting pursuit of happiness of the untraditional souls that keep the culture alive and pure.
Social Media: - Facebook - Website - Doc's Vimeo - Mike Valentine Photography