By Greg Borzo
Warning: don’t expect to watch this film from 1998 in one sitting because it’ll make you want to take a bike ride. Few movies feature as much saddle time or as many beautifully photographed biking scenes – from mountain trails to city streets.
In this French-Canadian film made in Montréal, cars are portrayed as instruments of evil. Each time the car-driving villain runs over a bike it reminds us that some in our “autoholic” society disdain bikes.
Laurie, the heroine who quits racing and finds refuge as a messenger, loves to bike so much she often ends up in the countryside between deliveries, oblivious to her whereabouts. “I just want to ride,” she moans.
Lorenzo, another former racer, helps Laurie along the way. He has adjusted to “civilian” life by opening a bike shop. With curmudgeonly Lorenzo as a father figure, Laurie figures out how to adjust – watch them comparing injuries to determine who has been more scarred by bicycling.
Time chases Laurie. Clock hands are made to resemble the spokes of her ever-spinning bicycle wheels. Laurie’s nerdy brother explains that time is suspended as you approach the speed of light, which could explain why Laurie courts speed: The bike becomes her fountain of youth, a way to slow down time.
In any event, Laurie discovers that two seconds, suspended or not, can be a long time. It’s long enough to lose a race or to make life-changing decisions. The take-home message is watch out for potholes and opportunities – on bike rides and throughout life.