Biography

From the Flanders (i) magazine

The Bicycle Treat

Remember Eddy Merckx? There was a time in the 1970s when he seemed to be Belgium’s very own answer to Superman, a prodigy on two wheels who won the Tour de France several times. Whenever he was in a big race, the country would grind to a halt. Men would crowd round fuzzy TVs in spit and sawdust bars to roar him on. His victories inspired them and made them feel better about themselves. Merckx’s exploits were certainly uplifting for the troubled young protagonist of Gert Embrechts’ debut feature, Allez, Eddy!

Gert Embrechts: director of Allez, Eddy!‘Certainly, in Belgium, Eddy Merckx was a super-hero,’ Embrechts declares. ‘He was a perfect human being, as perfect as can be.’

Allez, Eddy! takes place in 1975, when the Belgian cyclist was at his peak… but also the year when he lost the Tour de France for the first time. The setting is a small provincial town. The main character is Freddy, a shy and repressed ginger-haired 11-year-old boy who suffers from incontinence and whose mother cossets him. His room at the top of the house is a shrine to Merckx. Freddy has his own bike, suspended by ropes from the ceiling so that he can recreate his hero’s greatest rides.

Modernity is encroaching. Freddy’s dad has a butcher’s shop and is terrified that the big new supermarket will steal away all his custom. However, to mark the opening of the supermarket, a special race has been planned. The winner will get to meet… Merckx himself! Even though the father hates the supermarket, he secretly signs up Freddy for the race. This is a rites of passage story. Not only does Freddy need to take a step from childhood and fantasy into the grown-up world… his village has to adjust to a new age.

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Published on Thursday 9 February 2012

In the news

Allez, Eddy! Best Children’s Film at Juniorfest

Published on Friday 22 November 2013

Allez, Eddy! named Best International Youth Film in Brazil

Published on Tuesday 5 November 2013

Freddy races towards Cinekid nomination

Published on Thursday 24 October 2013

Audience Choice Award and Honourable Mention for Allez, Eddy!

Published on Tuesday 30 July 2013

Allez, Eddy! wins two Coming-of-Age Movie Awards

Published on Sunday 3 March 2013

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