Life After A Bicycle Accident
Two screen video installation, 2017, 31 min.
Production, directing, photography, editing: Jaap de Ruig
Music: Diederick Abbink
Translation: Peter Hanson
A just married Dutch piano player falls off his bicycle during a ride through France. He becomes paralysed. An intimate portrait of the consequences. And a conclusion: such an accident appears to make no difference for your level of happiness.
Hands play a piano. The main character comes into the picture. He says: 'There is the story that you don't want it to have happened'. While his voice further explains what did happen to him, we see two images side by side. The man wakes up on a mattress on the floor, he puts clothes on at his crippled body, he climbs into a wheelchair, washes his long blond hair and makes breakfast. Meanwhile, he is occasionally seen in the complementary image. He tells of Lucie, a French speaking Canadian girl with whom he shortly before the accident had married. The night before his fall, they had spent very romantic in an abandoned orchard, where she had stated that this was the best time of her life. He then talks about the divorce thereafter. And about the treatment by outsiders. He gives examples. His piano playing comes in violently, and when the anger has cooled and the sound died away, he confesses: "I did it myself too." He behaved in the same way toward people with other disabilities. He talks energetically and with self-
Statement of the Director
I knew the protagonist already when he still could walk. He had the same desire for independence as he has now being a paraplegic. He was always a survivor. His mentality has not changed. He lives completely on his own and has no assistance. In the film he talks about soldiers returning paralysed from Iraq. Instead of being honored as 'Rescuers of the World' they are suddenly treated as 'needy'. They are not helpless at all, but that's the way they are treated. It makes them furious. He recognizes it.
Because I know him for so long, he allowed me to film him at intimate moments. Over the past few years I regularly visited him and slept at his place. It gave me the possibility to film him in night-
I chose to edit the movie in a two screen editing. So I got the opportunity to let the protagonist tell something while on the adjacent image he is taking care of his daily pursuits. These pursuits are time-
JAAP DE RUIG