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Cycling Between Life and Death

Cycling Between Life and Death

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The taboo topic of euthanasia slides in to a carefree cycling holiday with friends. These two opposites are short-circuited together, sending them pedalling along for the limited time span of a trip, amidst anxieties, compassion and vital forces, in the fifth film by German director Christian Zübert, Hin und weg. A kind of “hit and run” that this evening will cut across the Piazza Grande screen with the emotional diagonal of a tragicomedy, able to accentuate the dialectical friction between life and death.

On the one hand, the emotion that increases feelings of defeat in the face of the announcement of an incurable degenerative disease, on the other the rationality that seeks to avoid the decline of physical deterioration by choosing a voluntary death. With all the consequences that rebound on the lives of others, forever in disequilibrium, because the screenplay of feelings and reactions can only proceed by jerks and accumulations.

All the more so if the narrative hourglass of the film is based on the playful annual ritual of a cycling trip with old friends, this year to Belgium, the destination chosen by 36-year-old Hannes (Florian David Fitz), where he will take part in another ritual. The trip thus becomes a journey of initiation towards loss and abandonment, which by way of a classic game of opposites evolves towards the contrary movement, an attempt to squeeze all possible vital euphoria out of every instant left to live together.

For the protagonist, but also for the rest of this diverse crew of wives and friends (Julia Koschitz, Jürgen Vogel, Johannes Allmayer, Victoria Mayer…), each one of whom brings their own neuroses and biographical trajectories, some married with children, others eternally single. At the end their complicity becomes a kind of emotional beacon that forces everyone to come to terms with their own existence.

Lorenzo Buccella
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