de Raphaël Jochaud et Claude Marthaler, France/Suisse, 2013, 26', VO ar-fr-en/ST enAu début étaient le Nil et le verbe, puis vinrent le pain et la bicyclette. Depuis un bon demi-siècle, le Caire s'est inventé un insolite moyen de distribution du pain. Ses funambules à vélo surgissent comme des étoiles filantes, remontent en sens interdit les interminables files de voitures, glissent entre deux rangées de chaises d'un café puis disparaissent dans un bazar, tenant sur leur tête une planche de bois avec plusieurs centaines de galettes de pain et de l'autre leur guidon. L'avenir de ces figures familières du Caire reste pourtant tout aussi fragile que celui du Sphynx. Le cyclonaute Claude Marthaler s'est rendu sur place pour raconter la vie de l'un d'eux.
by Raphaël Jochaud and Claude Marthaler, France/Switzerland, 2013, 26', Original in Arabic, French, and English; English subtitles for Arabic and French. In the beginning was the word, and the Nile, and then came bread and cycling. Over a solid half-century, Cairo has invented an unusual means of delivering bread. As if they were tightrope walkers, the city’s cyclists soar like shooting stars, zooming up one-way streets against endless lines of cars, slipping between the rows of chairs of a café, and disappearing into a bazaar. One hand serves to balance a wooden rack on their heads, bearing hundreds of rounds of bread, and the other rests on the handlebar. The future of these figures, so familiar in Cairo, remains nonetheless as precarious as that of the Sphinx. Cyclonaut, Claude Marthaler, went there in person to tell the life story of one of Cairo’s bread deliverymen.
Ever wanted to pedal from London to Bangkok in under 4 minutes? Before cyclists Francesca and Sam left on their odyssey, I proposed that they take photos of the road ahead as they peddled slowly east. Some 4,500 images later you can now 'odycycle' with them at a little over 73km per second from West to East, accompanied on their way by a spellbinding score from the great Philip Sheppard (philipsheppard.com). Thanks also to Stephanie Kern (stefaniekern.com) at Kern Productions (kernproductions.net) for sharing all the painstaking editing, and to theatticroom.com for their support.
In making the film and living, for weeks, with all these images of the roads they'd cycled along it occurred to me how similar they all are - as the resulting film speeds along them seamlessly crossing boarders and passing through so many communities and cultures, connecting all of us on our own individual life journeys.
We have far more in common in our lives than we sometimes think.
Here we present our final - and most informative - Streetfilm from Amsterdam. It provides a nice cross-section of commentary on life in the City of Bikes. If you'd like to skip directly to topics, we've grouped the comments under five general headings.
0:17 Rejecting the Automobile 2:15 A bike system that works for everyone 4:05 There's a science to what looks like "bicycle chaos" 5:55 Coming to The Netherlands from the United States 7:33 Dutch Bicycle Culture