Saturday, 4 July 2015

Route One/USA

I celebrated 4th of July today with a screening of the 1989 film Route One/USA, Robert Kramer's 4-hour semi-fictional road movie which might be described as an Errol Morris rewrite of Easy Rider. Beginning with a verse from Whitman's Song of the Open Road ("The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose"), Kramer and his friend "Doc", just back from a 10 year stint in Africa, embark on a journey from the Canadian border following Route 1 all the way to Miami. Doc conducts interviews with the people he meets along the way - right-wing conservative Baptists, community care workers battling the sharp edge of poverty and crime in deteriorating inner-city projects, a journalist investigating murders by white supremacists, a man who collects ghoulish celebrity ephemera. Intertwined with these snapshots of American life is Doc's back story and about 3 and a half hours into the film Doc suddenly abandons the trip, which causes the film to fragment into a kaleidoscope of random scenes, before finally running out of road among the waterways and suspension bridges at the port of Miami. Epic in scope, epic in vision...

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