As the brace-equipped son of a professional cyclist, Felix Vereecke is immersed in the Flemish cycling scene. It’s a contagious environment characterised by violence, alcohol and competition. Naturally as a fully grown teen, Felix wants to beat his father. He joins a semi-pro team in cycling mecca Italy so he can cycle for glory there, even if it destroys his body.
In this semi-autobiographical feature film debut, Flemish scriptwriter and director Kenneth Mercken mines his own cycling past. This creates a critical look at the world of professional cycling around 2000 when the sport was obsessed with doping like EPO. Felix is injected with performance-enhancing substances like some guinea pig. The focus on the former seems to infect the film’s DNA, with Mercken’s intrusive camerawork settling on Felix’s vulnerable body, making the destructive lives of professional cyclists almost physically tangible.
Also see Big Talk Coureur.