Filmmaker Profie: Ricardo Portillho

Ricardo Portilho, a Brazilian bike enthusiast and art director, heard about Filmed by Bike from the Amsterdam-based Gerrit Rietveld Academy mailing list. His film “I Just Can’t Forget These Things” will show in our 2008 festival.The impetus for the movie came from an assignment Portilho received from Kosmopolis, an organization from Rotterdam that works with cross-cultural relationships in The Netherlands. I wanted to make something about my parents,” Portilho says, “and how I was relating to some memories about them while living away from Brazil.” The resulting piece is Portilho’s reflection on phrases he associates with his parents combined with visual beauty seen as he rides his bike in Amsterdam.

Over the course of the year that he lived in Amsterdam, it was more than the movie project that helped him fall in love with riding bikes. “In Amsterdam I would say that biking is something that’s is just part of everybody’s life. Everybody–I mean everybody–has a bike,” he says. “People grow up using a bike for their daily tasks. You see mothers carrying babies on a bike, two-storey bikes, dogs in bikes, there’s even a bar on bike wheels. The car and truck drivers, they are also bikers when not on their cars – so there’s a lot of respect to the bikes in the city traffic. The country itself is very flat, so bikes are very effective to go around, day or night, to work or to party. Sometimes after a party it gets a bit more difficult to make turns.”

All of this biking in Amsterdam has spoiled Portilho. “Actually having the bike as your primary means of transportation in a place like Amsterdam gives you an unbelievable sense of freedom. After having lived in this context, I can’t avoid thinking “what a drag” every time I have to drive a car and get into another traffic jam.”

Portilho has produced a couple of other short movies and animations that are mostly experimental or personal stories. He also work on commercial movies and music videos.

You can view Portilho’s movie as part of the Bikers Win program that shows Saturday at 7 and 9 and Sunday at 5.

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