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Film Review: The Bicycle Thief

This documentary is about recovered stolen bikes in Philadelphia. The filmmakers have chosen not to provide a narrative history of the discovery of the bikes. Instead, they take a languid, almost poetic approach to the visualization of each bicycle and its corresponding seat. Of course, one of the existential questions the film considers (obliquely) is whether those seats—marked with numbers—were originally on the bikes when they were stolen. (Many of the seats were quick-release.)

Some frustrated audience members may be tempted to fast-forward, given the languorous pace of the film; each bike is displayed for a Bergmanesque seven seconds. But Major Crimes Recoverd Bikes ultimately asks questions about ownership, alternative forms of transportation and law enforcement. It's even more powerful with the Sarah McLachlan soundtrack, which pays tribute to its poignancy.