Do you ever stare at motorcycles? Catch yourself examining the chrome, the leather, the design, the riders? Have little sparks of excitement at the thought of riding? Mentally explore the mystic and wonderment of a chopper? Do you know anyone who passionately rides every weekend? Ever wanted to go to the bone yard and pull out a bike frame, scour all the hidden corners for parts and build a bike? Did you see the motorcycle scene in the THE GREAT ESCAPE with Steve McQueen fleeing from a possible life of imprisonment and say to yourself, “I want one of those.” Did you ever read “The Tao of Motorcycle Maintenance”?, and think, “what the…”.
Director Alfredo De Villa answers these queries and more in the movie HARLISTAS: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY. He brings us a documentary about four families who infuse their passion of motorcycles, with the power of healing that comes with riding: A son’s need to honor his father and let go of his grief so he may continue on his own journey; four brothers, who lost their sister in a senseless act of terror, stay bonded together by their complex history with the motorcycle and the desire to ride. A Father who strengthens his bond with his son via a road trip and extends the keys as a rite of passage. A man who fell into drugs and prison is shown by his step-father, the way to tranquility and a new beginning through building choppers.
De Villa artfully provides us with a look into these four families, their differences and similarities that center around how the motorcycle plays a part in their lives. He weaves a complete story using images of bikes, scenery, and life. But it’s the words of individuals that strikes the main core of this Documentary. To hear their truth, to embrace their emotions, to see the healing that is necessary for life to move forward, and to watch the motorcycle as a continuum in a family’s history passed on to the next generation.
The support of extended families, the familiar wave as one passes another on the road. The simple task of allowing yourself to let go and experience the journey. No matter if your a shop keeper, a dentist, an accountant, a carpenter, or a lawyer the draw to feel the wind, the road, and the rumble of the bike flows through us all. The sheer ability to jump on a chopper and get the overwhelming sensation of the past and present coming together, just like magic, is a gift that reaches out to the Viewer. And, the freedom the film conveys is a welcome friend.
HARLISTAS: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - A portrait of Harley-Davidson riders taking cross country journeys.