A new documentary looks at transportation activism in a way many of us rarely see: multinationally.
“Bikes vs. Cars,” made by Swedish director Fredrik Gertten and drawing on characters in Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, Toronto and Copenhagen, will screen at the Hollywood Theater at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, followed by a post-show discussion panel and party at the nearby Velo Cult bike shop.
A successful Kickstarter project from 2013, Bikes vs. Cars is now on a global tour that has gotten mixed reviews. If its adversarial name will put off some potential viewers, well, at least its underlying philosophy is said to match. Here’s the director being interviewed by the Guardian in May:
“Car dependency,” Gertten says, “is a disease for society. If you’re dependent on having a car every day, you have lost your freedom. It’s very sad. Most people are unhappy in traffic. The people who bike their cities, they become city-lovers. When you’re in a car, you don’t see the city, you are only watching the road. On a bike, you can see the sky, you can see the trees. People get to know their countries in a different way.”
The way he describes it, which comes across even more intensely in the film, is not so much a clash between bikes and cars as a battle of love and hate. How do you know the contours of where you live? Do you dart across them like an urban hummingbird? Or do you crawl sightlessly along them in a tank?
The man may be strident, but it’d be hard to say he’s wrong.
Bikes vs. Cars is showing as part of the Portland Ecofilm Festival. Tickets to the film are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors, students and children 12 and under.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.