Sex, Drugs & Bicycles (2021)

This is a film that takes a look at Holland — its director Jonathan Blank also made 1994’s Sex, Drugs & Democracy — to ask a very important question: Is having month-long double paid vacations, no fear of homelessness and universal healthcare the nightmare we’ve been warned about?

The country may be best known for its windmills and tulips — and let’s face it, the red light districts and legal marijuana — but the it also leads the world when it comes to free speech, animal rights, LGBTQI equality and, perhaps surprisingly, the economy and life indexes.

As America struggles to understand universal health care, this film shows how this country has figured out how to cover everyone while even paying for transgender medical procedures and sex care for the disabled.

It doesn’t shy away from the problems that this country has endured, but this is a really eye opening look at how other countries have solved issues that we face every day. One way that they do so is by highly taxing those in the highest brackets, while not allowing the CEOs of companies to pay themselves more than their prime minister. Yet they lead the world in studies of the best places to own a business and overall gross domestic product.

No place is perfect and Hollan has a history of slavery and holidays that still have no real issue with blackface — but there are some systems worth studying. This would be a good start for anyone looking to learn more. I certainly discovered so much in my watch, which moved quickly thanks to the director’s flair for storytelling and mixing in animation along with live action interviews.

Sex, Drugs & Bicycles will air as part of PBS’ Link Voices series on February 26th. You can learn more on the official site.

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