MovieChat Forums > En forårsdag i Helvede (1977) Discussion > Just watched 'A Sunday in hell'

Just watched 'A Sunday in hell'


A film documentry of the 1976 Paris Roubaix road race.

Even though it's only 30 years ago, it looks like a million years ago in terms of technology and corporate sponsorship. As a documentry it's a classic focus of then and how the major players persued their ambition to win. As a mid teen in 1976 I remembered Eddie Merckx well and many of the other names came back.

This must now be considered a historical golden documentry. There are great scenes, a few spring to mind:-

The almost comical race start when French printers staged a strike and threw piles of paper on the road and even motorbikes had trouble riding threw the paper. The strikers later blockaged a small town and the riders had to jump off their bikes and run through private gardens to avoid them.

The chaos of the motor cars and motor bikes following the riders, how they didn't kill anyone (riders, spectators and themselves) god knows. Crashed riders lying on the road bloody and half-dead, while policemen kept moving the traffic around these limpless bodies.

The winners ceremony at the end was almost "basic" compared to todays. A stand on a small podium, a man with a banner, a few photographs and a drink of water, that was it!

Then there's the real star of the show, the dusty "pavé" of roads. How the riders managed to stay upright is beyond me.

The eventual winner, Marc Demeyer, sadly died a few years later of a heart attack.

It's a must see film for not only bike fans but sport and human endevour fans as well.

reply

Yeah, Cobalt.
It's primitive, compared to today's races. But the cycling is the same. The hardships. The dust. And the mud.
I have seen the race almost every year on TV (for many years Jørgen Leth was the commmentator as he was during the Tour de France and Giro d' Italia)and every time I watch the movie I see both the difference between then and now, AND the similarities.

reply

Yeah, how cool was that when Eddy Merckx gets out of the car, sporting 70's clothes, sideburns, shades, a cycling Elvis

reply

This film is hardcore pornography for bike fans and bike historians. Fantastic stuff. Love the fact that the internet now has all these great bike films to watch at will. Probably unique in that Eddy Merckx doesn't win in this one.

reply