Road Movies: From Muybridge and Melies to Lynch and Kiarostami / Edition 1

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Road Movies engages with two foundational twentieth century technologies: cinematic and automotive. It is a book about road movies, a genre burdened by its own seductiveness. It is also, however, a book about images of human mobility more generally and the social function those images have served. From Eadweard Muybridge’s pre-cinematic experiments through contemporary films by David Lynch and Abbas Kiarostami, road movies are part of a larger imagistic tradition focused on the social costs of modernity and the consequences of a culture moving, often quite rapidly, away from the stabilizing structures of community and communication.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A theoretically sophisticated and deeply considered study of the road movie. Drawing on a wide range of scholarly perspectives, Orgeron explores well-known works from major directors, and covers the history of the cinema from the time of Muybridge and Lumière to the contemporary period. His thorough scholarship and talent as a writer makes this an important book. With a bold and nuanced argument, Orgeron successfully links the stylistic development of the cinema and its growing cultural influence to the constellation of themes associated with the road.”--Robert J. Burgoyne, Wayne State University

“Starting with strikingly original readings of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies and of various silent films that depict automobile journeys, Orgeron’s Road Movies argues that the cinema’s analogous relation to the automobile as turn of the 20th century technologies of transportation and entertainment spectacle is in many cases an inverse one, as accelerated forward motion often leads to disaster, with equilibrium only recuperated with an abandonment of automobility and a return to the safely rooted domestic sphere. Throughout the rest of the book, he again and again disputes the accepted wisdom that the road equals an existential freedom and points to countervailing discourses in even such iconic road texts as Easy Rider, discourses that point to the way the road promotes the fragmenting of community and the negation of language as a meaningful medium of connection and communication. A daring and provocative study.”--Ina Rae Hark, University of South Carolina; Co-editor of The Road Movie Book

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230601277
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/10/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Devin Orgeron is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English Department at North Carolina State University. He has published widely on issues of cinematic authorship, realism, postmodernity, and mobility- subjects that intersect in Road Movies. He also collects, shows, and writes about home movies from the 1940s-1970s.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Road Work Ahead * Early Cinema and the Mobilization of Narrative * Highways and Trails: Postwar American Cinema and the Journey Home in Detour and The Searchers * Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and the Road to the Road Movie * Misreading America in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider * Kings of the Road: Wim Wenders and the Mobile Home Movie * Road Movies as Another Century Turns: Oliver Stone and David Lynch * New Directions and Intersections: The Road Re-Worked and the Case of Abbas Kiarostami

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