After doing his original documentary; Sex, Drugs & Democracy, Jonathan Blank has returned to The Netherlands, a country with which he feels a great affinity and his follow up Sex, Drugs & Bicycles attempts to paint a picture of modern Holland and put to rest the many stereotypes surrounding its people. However, whereas there are some things that are true and some things that are false, there are some things that are more complicated than first impressions allow.
Using interviews with many experts, local celebrities and even some of those that the viewers may want to see their point of view, Sex, Drugs & Bicycles presents a mostly light hearted look at how the world sees the Dutch and how things really are.
Blank is interviewer and presenter as well as director and writer of the article and feels very proud of his connection to the country, so taking his knowledge from the US and its various systems, Sex, Drugs & Bicycles attempts to compare the two countries from education, healthcare and even the workplace.
Showing what seems to be a mostly idyllic place, Blank’s documentary shows the different sides to The Netherlands and at first shows an astonishment as to how different things are there compared to The United States. However, Sex, Drugs & Bicycles is not afraid to cover the more troubling aspects of the country such as institutional racism, sexism and the rise of the far right in politics.
These are minor points though and it seems that Blank’s documentary is far more interested in showing how much better things are over there and of course satisfying the curiosity of its viewers with the more unusual aspects. Things such as government funded TV shows that cover sex and drugs, naked bike rides and the legality of drug taking are all covered, because after all that’s what the audience wants.
Blank certainly has his own style though and it does certainly keep the pace going and makes it feel jollier than a serious insight into The Netherlands. If you can go along with the Monty Python style animations cut between the interviews and the non-stop music that plays over the documentary, then you may even learn something new from Sex, Drugs & Bicycles.
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