Close Up

3 June - 30 July 2017: On the Road

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Close-Up presents a two-month programme exploring the road as a state of mind within late 20th Century American and European independent cinema.

The Hitch-Hiker
Ida Lupino
1953 | 71 min | B/W | 35mm

Beyond its obvious cultural significance as the only classic film noir directed by a woman, The Hitch-Hiker is perhaps better remembered as simply one of the most nightmarish motion pictures of the 1950s. Inspired by the true-life murder spree of Billy Cook, The Hitch-Hiker is the tension-laden saga of two men on a camping trip are held captive by a homicidal drifter. He forces them, at gunpoint, to embark on a grim joyride across the Mexican desert. read more

Pierrot le fou
Jean-Luc Godard
1965 | 110 min | Colour | DCP

In this stunning exploration of personal and global violence, Godard depicts the picaresque journey across France of a disaffected Everyman and his girlfriend, who become involved in criminal activities along the way. The film includes direct references to Angola, Vietnam, and South Africa as it employs a dramatic and symbolic use of color. The film’s abstracted directorial style is perhaps best explained by the director’s response to the question of why it contains so much blood: "It is not blood but red." read more

Easy Rider
Dennis Hopper
1969 | 94 min | Colour | 35mm

From its legendary compilation score to its echt-60’s lens flares and culminating LSD trip, Easy Rider feels disconcertingly familiar, a model of what Tom Frank calls “the conquest of cool.” As they motor along to their inevitably tragic end, our heroes do drugs, have their rights violated, meet some interestingly allegorical groups of folks, and find themselves enframed by László Kovács’s gorgeous cinematography. read more

Harmonica
Larry Gottheim & Shelley Berde
1971 | 10’30 min | Colour | Digital

Gottheim’s first sound film. A paean to creative learning and an evocation of the Aeolian Harp, beloved of the Romantic poets. read more

Two-Lane Blacktop
Monte Hellman
1971 | 102 min | Colour | Digital

Monte Hellman’s low-budget classic epitomizes a cultural moment in which, as Vincent Canby wrote at the time of the film’s release, "faith in God is a lot less important, less immediate and even less mystical than faith in the internal combustion engine." read more

Badlands
Terrence Malick
1973 | 90 min | Colour | DCP

Malick’s film overflows with lyrical visual motifs that juxtapose gestures of horrendously casual brutality against the expansively beautiful natural landscapes of the titular region. The result is a genuinely singular take on the cinematic tradition of lovers on the run, a hauntingly gorgeous American nightmare whose images and characters have left an indelible trace on the history of American cinema. read more

Paper Moon
Peter Bogdanovich
1973 | 102 min | B/W | 35mm

Ryan and Tatum O’Neal play a father-daughter con artist team traveling through the Depression-era Dust Bowl, fleecing widows and swindling shopkeepers, in this touching tragi-comedy. Shot in striking black and white by iconic cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, Paper Moon pays distinct homage to the work of two of Bogdanovich’s heroes – John Ford in its rural American setting and Howard Hawks in its dark humor and cynical worldview. read more

Kings of the Road
Wim Wenders
1976 | 168 min | B/W | 35mm

Wenders’ ultimate road movie follows an itinerant cinema mechanic and his partner as they drive through marginal towns along the border of the former East and West Germanies. Episodic in structure and leisurely in tempo, Kings of the Road blends scenes of highways and towns with references to the movies of Godard, Ozu, Lang, and others. read more

Stroszek
Werner Herzog
1976 | 103 min | Colour | Digital

One of Herzog's most accessible films, Stroszek is a lyrical, melancholy, bitterly funny tale of three oddly-assorted Berlin misfits who follow the American Dream to Wisconsin and find a bleak El Dorado of television, football, CB radio, truck stops, and mobile homesteading. read more

Radio On
Chris Petit
1979 | 102 min | B/W | 35mm

Chris Petit's cult classic is one of the most striking feature debuts in British cinema – a haunting blend of edgy mystery story and existential road movie, crammed with eerie evocations of English landscape and weather. read more

39/81 Which Way to CA?
Kurt Kren
1981 | 3'18 min | B/W | 16mm

Kren on the way from Vermont to California. Kren said that his different cars are the red line that runs through the story. The beginning of the film is missing as Kren needed money and wanted to leave the camera with a pawnbroker in San Francisco; as he demonstrated that the camera was working, the film was exposed. read more

Paris, Texas
Wim Wenders
1984 | 147 min | Colour | 35mm

Wim Wenders brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas. This unique road movie follows the mysterious, uncommunicative drifter Travis as he emerges from the desert and tries to reconnect with his young son, his wife, and his own memory. read more

Leningrad Cowboys Go America
Aki Kaurismäki
1989 | 78 min | Colour | DCP

A struggling Siberian rock band leaves the lonely tundra to tour the United States because, as they’re told, "they’ll buy anything there." Aki Kaurismäki’s winningly aloof farce follows the musicians as they bravely make their way across the New World, carrying a bandmate (and some beer) in a coffin and sporting hairdos that resemble unicorn horns. read more

Route One/USA
Robert Kramer
1989 | Colour | 255 min | Digital

After living abroad for a decade, Kramer embarked on the extended road trip which gave way to Route One USA, an engrossing portrait of Eighties America and one of Kramer’s finest works. Kramer introduces the fictional protagonist "Doc" to tie together the unscripted footage shot along the eponymous highway stretching from the Canadian border to the Florida Keys. read more

Double Blind (No Sex Last Night)
Sophie Calle & Greg Shephard
1992 | 76 min | Colour | Digital

We hadn't been living together for more than a year, but our relationship had worsened to such an extent that we had stopped talking to one another altogether. I dreamed of marrying him. He dreamed of making movies. To get him to travel across America with me, I suggested that we make a film during the trip. He agreed. read more

Transamerica
Duncan Tucker
2005 | 103 min | Colour | 35mm

"Transamerica lays before us competing discourses in the form of a road trip of sorts, a multilayered “journey" that cuts across physical, emotional and spiritual spaces inhabited by preoperative Stanley Schupak / Sabrina Osborne, who goes by Bree and her son, Toby. Although the film would appear to be a linear narrative, the layers within the film allow time and space to turn back upon themselves. read more

Easy Rider
James Benning
2012 | 95 min | Colour | Digital

Easy Rider interests me in two ways: its portrayal of 60’s counterculture – unlike Faces which for me is more about the 50’s – and its search for place. I divided the original film into scenes (like I did with Faces) and then replaced each scene with one shot filmed at the original location. My Easy Rider tries to find today’s counter-culture (if one exists) by replacing the 60’s music with music that I listen to today. read more

The French Road, Detroit MI
Arthur Summereder
2016 | 7 min | B/W | DCP

"What´s going on here?" "I'm filming." "Police?" "No, I´m an artist from Austria interested in your street racing culture." The street in The French Road is far off the beaten track of the road movie and counter-cultural mythology, serving both as expression and impression of a city that rose and declined together with the auto industry, ironically no longer capable of affording to maintain its infrastructure. read more