Hot Docs review: Afghan Cycles

Director Sarah Menzies profiles Afghan women who form a national cycling team

AFGHAN CYCLES (Sarah Menzies, U.S.). 90 minutes. Rating: NNN

In Afghanistan, women who dare to ride a bicycle are regularly subject to discrimination, threats and worse. Nevertheless they persist, even forming a national cycling team in Kabul to inspire other potential riders across the country.

Afghan Cycles introduces us to some of the women on that team, contrasting their experience with that of young women in the nation’s Bamiyan region, where the pushback is much uglier – and, it’s implied, more accepted – than it is in the city.

Director Sarah Menzies has clearly forged a rapport with the cyclists that lets them open up to her camera, and the documentary delivers a good look at an issue that feels a couple of centuries out of date. It’s perhaps a little longer than it needs to be, but I can understanding Menzies and her team wanting to show us as much of these women’s stories as possible.

Apr 29, 8:15 pm, TIFF 2 May 1, 4 pm, TIFF 3 May 6, 3:30 pm, Aga Khan

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