Northwest Connections | 2018 | 90 minutes
SIFF Says:Imagine being cursed, dodging hurled rocks, and avoiding angry cars all while catching death threats just for getting on your bike. That’s what the women featured in AFGHAN CYCLES withstand as they pursue their cycling passions. Seattle-based filmmaker Sarah Menzies first feature-length documentary follows the Afghan National Women’s Cycling team and young riders in the northwest Bamyan Province as they navigate the societal forces working against them. Their story shines a light on the daily struggles many Afghan women face on a regular basis; discrimination and abuse is commonplace in their lives, but still they continue to ride despite the cultural barriers and powerful attempts to silence them. Often though, obstacles prove insurmountable and some are forced to quit riding: Frozan, a leader of the national team, decides to defect as they arrive in France for competition; without a home, friends, or a bike, it’s all she can do to make sense of her life and seek asylum. Shot gorgeously with many of Afghanistan’s serene mountain ranges acting as a backdrop, this film is sure to move audiences with its powerful source material and inspire belief in human rights under the harshest of circumstances.
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