Flâneur

I had my first meeting with the editor last week. He had a question as to whose story it was. I couldn’t completely answer him at the time, not because I have not thought about it but because I couldn’t express it in words. It was a good question to be asked, I took it back to the writer – we sat down and chatted about it and through conversation found a way to describe it.

I feel, with the footage and interviews we have, this is not a story about any one individual cyclist or even traditionally the cyclists as a group, instead this is a story about “an idea of a person” or archetypal character shaped by their environment who in many ways is the result of the world at that time. Its tricky to explain and has some similarities with the term Flâneur, which is no one person but came about through changes in society and modern history to enable such a person as an ideal and activity to exist.

There is a good description of the Flâneur here:

Flâneur” is a word understood intuitively by the French to mean “stroller, idler, walker.” He has been portrayed in the past as a well-dressed man, strolling leisurely through the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century–a shopper with no intention to buy, an intellectual parasite of the arcade.

Its a bit of a leap, but the way I see it is that the 20thC. saw the birth of the cyclist. I don’t have a great deal of knowledge on this subject, however Kevin, the Sound Designer (originally from Manchester) said there are relations to Manchester’s history of industry and working in a factory all day, all week. The cycle gave people the freedom to escape the “dirty” city and enjoy the countryside without dependancy on anything else – just your own two feet. Indeed talking about this with the writer, she tells me that there are many instances in the interviews where people talk about cycling as a way for working class people to get from a to b. I’ll have to add a few quotes from the interviews to demonstrate this. There was so much in the film that didn’t quite make it and there is definitely a bigger story or world to explore. Erinma says she’ll blog about this.

My main point is that in conversation with the writer we came up with what we meant and could then convey it back to the editor. It moved us forward to making the film we wanted to make and being very clear about what it is and what it isn’t. This was also useful when it came to doing the sound design and explaining the concept to Kevin who asked the same question as the editor.

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