“Contromano”, or “Bike Repair Shop” (English title), is a documentary film written and directed by Stefano Gabbiani, in collaboration with Lacumbia Film and Mufilm. Presented at the international environmental film festival CinemAmbiente 2015 in Turin (Italy), and then selected by various international film festivals (Usa, Mexico, Spain, France, New Zealand), this project has been conceived in order to find a way out of the heavy environmental and economic crisis that Turin and its citizens are passing through.
Turin is one of the most polluted cities worldwide and a symbol of modern post-industrial society. In fact, during the twentieth-century Turin was always identified as the Italian capital of the automobile industry (Fiat). Stefano Gabbiani tried to imagine a new, possibly greener, identity for his city and his fellow citizens. The recent bike rediscovery seemed to him as a clear and paradoxical emblem of a more sustainable path for the future of Turin. As a matter of fact, nowadays we can see more and more people riding a bike on our roads, both because of the current economic crisis, and also thanks to a new environmental awareness. Being inspired by all this, the director asked himself what kind of lives and stories were behind a simple bike. His astonishment was to discover many different people and stories linked with this simple mean of transport, and somehow joined with the great changes happening to the city.
As Turin emerges from an era of automobile industry (Fiat Automobiles), the owners of two bicycle repair shops benefit from the city’s newfound interest in cycling – and recycling. One repairman rose from homelessness to find love and success, and faces the day’s challenges with an acerbic (and often obscene) sense of humor; the other sees the “protocol” of his work as an extension of his study of philosophy, and takes on troubled youths as apprentices. Both evince the power of the bike as a tool of transformation: for the climate, for cities, and for the lives of individuals.
“Bike Repair Shop" began as an independent production from Stefano Gabbiani, a young Italian filmmaker,
and from the photographer and camera operator Elisabetta Michienzi in 2014.
Later on the project received technical and professional assistance from local freelance and organizations involved in the production of audiovisuals, such as Lacumbia Film and Mufilm.
To reduce the problems of self-production a crowdfunding campaign was started in November 2014. The target of 6000 Euros was reached a few days before the deadline. The project has been covered by local and national media (la Repubblica, Rai Radio2, La Stampa) during the crowdfunding campaign.