SXSW Film Review: Bikes vs. Cars

Swedish doc looks into the war between wheels

Anyone who lives in Austin can tell you that the theory that cars provide speed and freedom is an illusion.

In cities, cars don’t liberate you; they get you stuck – for hours and days and weeks and years and decades, all that time adding up, lives slowly draining away in traffic jams and a sea of fumes. For the heroes of Bikes vs. Cars, there is another way. Cities just need to go back to the glory days when bikes ruled the roads and personal transportation wasn’t a synonym for paralyzing stress and environmental degradation.

To explore the eternal struggle between cars and bikes, Swedish director Fredrik Gertten traveled around the world – from São Paulo, Brazil, where there are 7 million registered automobiles, to Copenhagen, where, in the words of one frustrated cab driver, bicyclists are “like insects, swarming everywhere.” Everywhere Gertten went he saw the same thing: bicyclists trying to get a little piece of the pie in the face of a never-ending upward trajectory of car ownership and the overwhelming political and economic influence of the automobile industry. Think of it as David and Goliath on wheels.

Bikes Vs. Cars

Documentary Spotlight, World Premiere
Monday, March 16, 6:15pm, Vimeo
Wednesday, March 18, 7:30pm, Alamo Slaughter

Keep up with all our dispatches from SXSW at

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More SXSW Film
Unleashing the <i>Hounds of Love</i>
Unleashing the Hounds of Love
Director Ben Young on his serial-killer couple drama

Richard Whittaker, May 12, 2017

Ben Wheatley  Catches <i>Free Fire</i>
Ben Wheatley Catches Free Fire
Director on making his U.S. action debut

Richard Whittaker, April 21, 2017

More by Josh Rosenblatt
SXSW Film Review: <i>Sweaty Betty</i>
SXSW: Sweaty Betty
A dog, two single dads, and a 1,000-pound pig

March 15, 2015

SXSW Film Review: <i>Theory of Obscurity: A Film About the Residents</i>
SXSW: Theory of Obscurity
Still anonymous, the Residents let the fans speak for them

March 14, 2015


SXSW Film, Bikes vs. Cars, Fredrik Gertten, bicycle culture, SXSW Film 2015

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle