Road movie and literature

The Cabiriams has created a collective article about road-movies inspired by books.

There was a time in which “to rebel” still meant something.

Now it happens again for a couple of hours when we read a Kerouac a Cassady or a Ginsberg book; with the right one we can take a trip in ourselves like the protagonists do with their existentialists anxieties. The compulsion to live without boredom and narrowness of the bourgeois world, breaking the materialistic sadness of the 50s. The arrival is just a new departure and the finish line does not exist. It can not exist because the road that  dominates and follows throughout the novel, is life itself.  To travel means to be immortal. A parallel between the concrete journey on the road and the inner spiritual journey of personal growth. We can also mention a third, less mystical and less noble: the oneiric and spectral one of alcohol and drugs, in the name of the fathers of the Beat Generation. It is not a coincidence that all this has announced twenty years later the Hippies and Woodstock. Ideas, whose concept was noble, but with questionable execution, designed to destroy nihilism and apathy. Ideas that perhaps today, in the society of pure nihilism, have lost themselves of meaning.

 

 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 film by Terry Gilliam (also director of Brazil), based on the semi autobiographical novel by Hunter S. Thompson.

The sports journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) has to write an article about the annual road motorcycle race Mint 400, just outside Las Vegas, he decides to invite his great friend: Samoan, lawyer Dr Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) to go with him on this business trip. Raoul’s work will become a trip, on a red convertible on Nevada’s streets, full of frenzy and based on the most disparate drugs, in a road movie that seems a great delusion, where it is almost impossible to distinguish the trip from reality.

 

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

 TSS Day 20 "The young and Prodigious Spivet"
Photo: Jan Thijs

Transposition on film of Reif Larsen’s novel The maps of my dreams and completely shot in 3D, the film is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director of The Fabulous World of Amelie). The little protagonist, a 10-year-old prodigy, is a keen on cartography and an inventor, lives with his family in an isolated ranch in Montana. The journey begins when the Smithsonian Institution announces the victory of the prestigious Baird prize for the invention of his perpetual motion machine. Unbeknownst to everyone, to withdraw the prize, the protagonist jumps on a freight train to Washington D.C. A work that touches the oneiric, it takes us on a journey through a fairytale wild America, as far away as wonderful. Also due to the poetic photography of Thomas Hardmeier, the film is a spectacle for the eyes.

Stand by me

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Stand By Me from 1986 is directed by Rob Reiner, director known for films like This is Spinal Tap and Whem Herry Met Sally…Based on The Body by Stephen King, published in 1982 in the collection: Different Seasons, the film tells the story of Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern, four kids from Castle Rock, who decide to travel on foot, along the train tracks, to see the body of a missing schoolmate.

The film is proposed like a classic training story, in which the journey will make the young heroes grow up. They will learn to better know each other and to themselves, reflecting on what it means to really grow up and on the need to take new paths, even if unknown and dangerous, to give a new meaning to life. A funny film for the youngest and melancholy for the older ones. Worth noting is the participation of a young but already undeniably talented River Phoenix in the role of one of the protagonists.

Wild at Heart

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Simultaneously with the assembly beginning of the pilot of the masterpiece that will mark the third Golden Age of television or in other words: Twin Peaks, in 1990 David Lynch ventured into the filming of Wild at Heart, based on the namesake book of Billy Gifford.

Creating a film with typical Lynchean features, the director, paying homage to the wizard of Oz, creates a very different road movie out of the canonical films representing the category, alternating scenes of extreme violence to bizarre scenes with as protagonists Nicholas Cage and a magical Laura Dern (who had already shot Blue Velvet with Lynch in 1986), and with the extras Sheryl Lee and Sherilyn Fenn, who will become respectively Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer and Audrey Horne.

Wild at heart is definitely a pearl of Lynch’s  filmography, creating a miscellany of different genres, arriving to thrill until the last minute.

 

Crash

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David Cronenberg, after the refined – in some ways anonymous – parenthesis M. Butterfly, returns in 1996 with one of the most morbid films of his filmography: Crash.

Based on the novel by James Ballard, Crash is a film that examines the psychophysical mutations induced in the human body by a closer relationship with machines and technology. The 1996 film can be seen as the other side of the coin of Fast Company: the most evil, foul-smelling and sickening side, where the damaged cars appear more fascinating than the brand-new ones, and the injured and mutilated bodies more exciting than those who are naturally perfect.

In Crash, the eros and the thanatos embraced, and tangled together overcome the conception of plot and development of the same, in a nihilistic and subversive tourbillon that intimately concerns us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Names in order: Anna Sintini,
Bianca Ferrari,
Edoardo Testa,
Marco Andreotti,
Cristina Bagnasco,
Giovanni Berardi

Translated by: Samira Loser

 

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