Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Is Idris Elba a Hollywood Leading Man Yet? Is Idris Elba a Hollywood Leading Man Yet? Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Review: 'Rising From Ashes' (First Rwandan National Cycling Team Takes a Shot at 2012 Olympics)

Photo of Jai Tiggett By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act August 1, 2013 at 3:01PM

Inspirational sports documentary Rising From Ashes follows cycling legend Jock Boyer on a six-year journey to train the first ever national cycling team of Rwanda. Directed by T.C. Johnstone and executive produced and narrated by Forest Whitaker, the film opens in theaters tomorrow, August 2, in New York and Los Angeles.
0
Olympian and Team Rwanda member Adrien Niyonshuti in 'Rising From Ashes'
First Run Features Olympian and Team Rwanda member Adrien Niyonshuti in 'Rising From Ashes'

Inspirational sports documentary Rising From Ashes follows cycling legend Jock Boyer on a six-year journey to train the first ever national cycling team of Rwanda. Directed by T.C. Johnstone and executive produced and narrated by Forest Whitaker, the film opens in theaters tomorrow, August 2, in New York and Los Angeles. 

Inspired by cyclists he met on a 2005 bicycle tour of Rwanda, Tom Ritchey, one of the inventors of the mountain bike, sets out to create a team he hopes will qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. To help train them, he enlists the help of Boyer, his old racing rival and the first American ever to ride in the Tour de France. Through interviews and Whitaker's narration, we learn that everyone is hoping this team will bring pride and redemption to a country still devastated by the 1994 genocide that killed nearly 20% of its population. Slick photography reflects a community that has been broken, but still has a piercing beauty. 

Like star cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti, who lost 60 members of his family in the genocide, the teammates - mostly in their teens - have been crippled by loss and cling to each other for support. This is also a story of personal redemption for Boyer, who hints at a dark past including family struggles and a 2002 conviction for lewd behavior with a minor. Without much prior knowledge of Rwanda he focuses instead on bringing structure and discipline to the team. 

There are plenty of sports dramas, many of them narrative films, about white coaches who enter depressed black communities to inspire young athletes to greatness. They often come off as overly emotional and paternalistic, which may be why this doc concerns itself mostly with the team's actual sports exploits - learning to train, struggling with outdated bikes, and performing in their first races. Still, in a country with as complicated a history and ongoing struggle as Rwanda, there's a desire to know much more about the people in this film and the community they come from. Details about the cyclists' lives, their fate, and their culture are glossed over in favor of focusing on their athletic performance. In the end, the story is uplifting, but not as impactful as it could be.  


This article is related to: Forest Whitaker, Reviews


Shadow & ActNewsletter