Filmed in Brussels, Belgium
The girl who lives on her bicycle is the first of 3 parodic short films of urban research made by the group of women who met during the feminist urban exploration workshop the Atelier de la Traversée (Brussels, December 2019 -December 2020).The protagonist is Coralie, a 30-year-old girl who makes an unusual choice: to live on her bicycle because she is tired of crossing urban space chased and tormented by the cat-calling. Coralie abandons her daily habits and adapts them to this new way of relating to the city: she sleeps, eats, works, meets people on the move, while cycling. She cycles and tells the reasons for this particular choice. She cycles, day and night, without stopping, moving quickly from one point to another in the city, covering great distances, crossing squares and streets rapidly to escape unwanted interactions, comments "that sometimes sound ridiculous, but other times are devastating". An obligatory stop will finally give her the opportunity to claim her right to slowness and to the city.
This film uses a fictional approach to humorously reflect on walking fast in urban space, a strategy adopted by many women to make themselves unapproachable, discourage interactions, protect themselves from stares, comments and whistles.Coralie is a young woman and she is tired of the male gaze, the verbal harassment and the difficulties she encounters daily in urban space. She decides to drop everything and go living by bike to move fast. Coralie never stops, she cycles day and night. By cycling she eats, she has business meetings, she meets friends, and she rests. In the meantime, she tells us the positive and negative aspects of being a woman who has made this unreal choice in life. Once, for an accident, she has to stop, but this time she is ready to react.
The visual approach was adopted for multiple reasons: first of all, the idea of making a fictional video has meant reasoning about space and experiences, symbolically and metaphorically, with the aim of communicating a message and of representing it. Then, this video is DIY and therefore also deeply participatory: being in the space collectively with our bodies to film, to perform acts, to record audio, allowed us to protect ourselves as one collective body, a body that drew power from the alliance of intentions (Butler, 2016), from sharing the same feelings and goals. Our collective body drew, from this alliance, the power to act in space, to stand, to narrate and represent a form of spatial gender injustice, of inequity, that so many women experience every day.
Review 1. Very powerful – I like how it pulls you in – quirky at first, humorous, and then reveals itself.
Review 2. Achieves what it sets out to do in an inventive way.