Monza – on the streets of Stockholm
In this film short for Monza, a small local bicycle manufacturer in Stockholm, director and editor Simon Gustafsson captures the unbridled joy and sense of freedom afforded to those who dare to seek solace in the streets, whilst sat on the saddle of a Monza bike. The film is set to the hauntingly beautiful Prelude and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler.
Gustafsson was afforded complete creative freedom by Monza; the only condition being that the bikes had to be ridden in the streets in a way that would inspire viewers of the film. Right from the start of the project, Gustafsson was clear that he wanted to create an urban film, particularly as many of us are looking into alternative methods of transport in cities, the bicycle being one great alternative. He was heavily inspired by old black and white street photography from the early 20th century – predominantly of New York – and works by photographers such as Gary Winogrand and Berenice Abbott.
Gustafsson has subsequently used that inspiration as a starting point, to create a mix of the old and the new. As Stockholm itself is a very idyllic background for an urban film, the director wanted to portray it as bigger, more crowded, and more brutal, even. Creating a kind of chaos and congestion on film through his camera work, Gustafsson portrays these cool, calm characters cycling through the city like ninjas, in full control while riding their Monza BMXs, in spite of – or perhaps because of – the frenetic city racing past them.