I never knew bike couriers exist in Edmonton, especially in winter. I mean, how can anyone ride a bike in the middle of coldness and survive it? In most cases, I have never had a glimpse of a bike courier in my entire life in Canada. However, the short film Snow Warrior gave me an insight about the bike couriers’ job in Edmonton.
Snow Warrior is a 2018 Canadian short documentary film directed by Frederick Kroetsch and Kurt Spenrath. On March 18, the National Film Board decided to release the movie on their website.
The short documentary is about a local bicycle courier named Mariah. The film starts with how Mariah prepares for her job early in the morning and rides her bike in Edmonton’s cold weather. Mariah then meets her fellow bicycle couriers in a coffee shop, who also delivered packages during the cold winter. Mariah chats with Gerry, one of her fellow cyclists, who is almost 50 years old but still does this kind of job. Gerry states that when he went to the elevator earlier in the morning, a woman judged him by stating all bike couriers are disgusting and despicable. In this scene, we can see how several people stigmatize the job that they have.
As a female courier, Mariah also talks about some of her unique experiences. When Mariah had long hair, drivers gave her space, and her friends in the job treated her as valuable. But when Mariah decided to wear baggy winter clothes and cut her hair short, she noticed that she was treated differently when she looked more like a man.
The title Snow Warrior was chosen because it is about the bicycle couriers’ struggles and how they endure the cold winter weather in Edmonton, where the temperature sometimes exceeds -40 C. The short film showed how simply riding a bike during the winter is a difficult task. The bicycle couriers sometimes struggle just to pedal their bikes, and a lot of the time, they do slip. Directors Kroetsch and Spenrath also showcased that many people tend to judge and hate bicyclists simply because they are always using roads and sidewalks. The short film portrays how cars often pass too close to bicycle couriers, not knowing how vulnerable they are. At the end of the film, Mariah asks, “Why do we do it?”
With an eight-minute and 30 second runtime, the film successfully illustrates the bike couriers’ struggles. The couriers could slip, freeze,or even get into an accident. This short film encourages people to look at what bike couriers do and to not stigmatize their job. This career takes a lot of courage and determination, so the bike couriers are all very admirable. Snow Warrior seems to show how the career of bike couriers are efficient and eco-friendly.
On the other side, directors Kroetsch and Spenrath could have elaborated more on some of the different experiences of other bike couriers, and not only the ones that Mariah has. Such as, what pushed the other bike couriers to pick this job? Or how do they even manage to keep doing it? When speaking of the camera techniques, I feel that the directors could have lessened the slow shots of different places in Edmonton. Instead, they could have shown the other bike couriers.
Overall, this short film is outstanding. It is an excellent short film if you want to learn something about the bike couriers’ struggles in a city with a long winter. I will definitely recommend this to people, specifically those who are unfamiliar with the careers of bike couriers like me. Those who are interested can watch Snow Warrior on the National Film Board website.
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