The brake cables of Martin Bruchs handbike the handlebars of which serve at the same time as a manually operated driving-pedal appear and disappear in a regular rhythm at the lower edge of the screen: A never-ending repetitious rotary winding motion that seems not only to carry forward the vehicle but the movie itself as well.
Since 1992, when he was diagnosed as being afflicted with multiple sclerosis, Martin Bruch has been moving along with the help of mechanical appliances. At first he used a scooter, now, as this is no longer possible, he depends mainly on a handbike. From 12/2001 to 12/2002 he filmed his rides through big cities and in the countryside employing a helmet cam: These images and sounds represent at least an approach to his own perception. Thus the audience of his documentary handbikemovie will find itself being stuck in a traffic jam on New Yorks Times Square, between tramways and car lanes on the Vienna Ring, or alongside a double-decker bus in the heavy traffic of London. Motors are vibrating all around, tyres are thundering on the asphalt, and now and then sounds of music can be heard from a passing-by convertible.
Not a single one of the traffic ways Martin Bruch moves into with his handbike during the film is designed for him, that is to say, for a vehicle like his. As a driver of a three-wheeler handbike he is legally not allowed to use cycle-tracks or highways. By nevertheless driving on such traffic ways, he refuses to comply with a reglementation of space which by now has become a self-evident matter of course for everyone. Formally handbikemovie is clearly structured: 56 shots, strung together in straight cuts, connected merely by the subjective perspective of the camera attached to the helmet as leitmotiv and the winding forward movement. A conceptual study about movement, effort, and duration with no need for narration in the classical sense. (Maya McKechneay)
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