Last Saturday saw the premiere of Gavin Strange’s film Böikzmöind, focusing on cycling in Bristol. it’s an oblique look at the fixed gear scene, but is also much more than that. It explores cycling and community in a resolutely uncynical manner, and as such, goes further towards articulating the essential joy that can be had when riding a bike, and the positive effect that cycling has on everyone who does it.
I found the film captivating and completely engrossing. it’s incredibly well made: beautifully shot, framed, edited, and composed. as a direct result it captures the essential and simple joy of bike riding. this is given substance and shape from the interviews that are at the core of the film. i’m a cynical person, maybe, or at least can be a bit scathing about things. boikzmoind makes me utterly positive about everything, but more than any one thing, utterly positive about bristol and bicycles and anyone anywhere who rides a bicycle. it creates a physical and social picture of a city that is constantly in flux, but has a sense of community at the core that drives many of the changes that occur. on a similar note, and not to stretch things too far, there’s a definite lineation between this film and boneshaker magazine, cafe kino, M-Shed’s foregrounding of social history, weekends outside the arnolfini, the graffiti exhibition, the bristol bike project, the cube, jamaica street studios, spike island, and all the other interanimating elements that forge the cultural and communal identity of the city. boikzmoind is a part of the patchwork.
on a personal note, 3 years ago along with a friend i helped organise a weird fixed wheel hillclimb thing in bristol. we called it the hillycat. Gav came along and filmed it and some of the footage has made it into the final edit. if i think back to the first hillycat, about 3 years ago, and then pitch forward into the present, i can’t help but think that nearly all of the people in the film wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for something else that was happening, which is clearly centred around bicycles, and the joy they create that transcends precisely the kind of cynicism that we (or I) are often afflicted by.
on another note, there are couple of highlights for me:
- the supermarket sequence is, in short, genius. you have to see it
- everything jake says and does is awesome
- sam gaunt and sam higley are pretty darn amazing – especially the intro, and then sam G’s wheelie and insouciant gaze at the camera
- i’m going to buy the beak> album
- there’s a massive rabbit in the film, frequently
- i love a heavy metal umlaut
the film is out on DVD in the not too distant future and in the meantime you can see it at anyone of a number of screenings all over the world (seriously). go see it, it’s brilliant, and i defy you not to smile luminously throughout the entirety of the screening.