Wednesday, April 6, 2011


'I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You', is now my favorite movie of the year so far (even though it was made in 2009). Sorry 'Heartbeats'. I'm always up for a good road movie, and i think this film pushed the genre one step further, just when it was starting to get a little stale. Believe it or not, I think the 'Brown Bunny' may have been the last ROAD movie to try something new, even with all the problems it may have had. 'I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You', which is part fiction/part documentary, is about a recently divorced geologist, who's sent on an assignment to survey rocks through out Brazil. Although he does do his job, he also uses this trip as a mini-vacation to try and forget about his ex-wife. He does this by hooking up with various prostitutes in each town he surveys, but it doesn't seem to do anything because all he does is talk about his ex-wife through out the entire movie. Like any great road movie, 'I Travel Because I Have To' does a great job of capturing both; boredom and self reflection. Anyone who's taken a long road trip before knows that after a while you can go through long stretches of absolute boredom, which cause you to think about life and all that other stuff one thinks about when you have all the time in the world. Some critics have compared the film to the work of Chantal Ackerman. I could see how someone would quickly make that comparison, but Chantal Ackerman would never have scenes of random prostitutes (some attractive, some snaggle-toothed) dancing seductively to techno music like 'I Travel Because I Have To' does.
'I Travel Because I Have To' is part of an on-going, loosely connected, unofficial series of road films that focus more on the landscape around the main characters, the road/highway and self reflection, rather than getting in to one wacky adventure after another which is a route that many traditional road movies tend to go (not that I'm criticizing films that do that. I'm a huge fan of films like 'Wild at Heart', 'Two Lane Blacktop' and 'Roadside Prophets'). From the first few minutes of 'I Travel Because I have To' until the end, i couldn't get wim wender's 'Alice in the cities' out of mind (along with wender's other classic road movies like 'Kings of the road' and 'Paris Texas'). Luckily, one of the directors of 'I Travel Because I Have To' (Karim Ainouz) happened to be at anthology film archives for a quick Q & A, and he confirmed my suspicion that he we was in fact inspired by Wim Wenders, specifically; 'Alice in the cities'. So i didn't pull that comparison out of my ass. The director himself confirmed it.

THE ROAD MOVIES OF WIM WENDERS (kings of the road, alice in the cities, paris texas): We all know that 'Easy Rider' inspired a ton of great slightly unconventional films. But i think Wim Wender's work was just as influential. From the 70's up until right now, i seem to notice an evolution in the road movie genre. In Wender's films of the 70's and early 80's, we see our characters shot from a typical distance. However the viewer still shares a closeness and intimacy with the characters. They aren't shot from too far away (i mean, you can only shoot someone from so far away when a big portion of a film takes place in a car), but there's still a considerable distance between the camera lens and the characters.

THE BROWN BUNNY & TASTE OF CHERRY: over time, as road movies evolved, filmmakers gave a closer, almost claustrophobic look to the point where we literally felt like we were in the car with the characters. Anyone who's seen 'The Brown Bunny' should agree. Some scenes in the movie felt like i was sitting right next to Vincent Gallo. The same goes for some scenes in Abbas Kiarostami's 'Taste Of Cherry'.

I TRAVEL BECAUSE I HAVE TO...: Today, filmmakers; Miguel Gomes and Karim Ainouz take more than just a closer look, but actually put the viewer inside the main character so that we experience everything they do. That's right, the most unique aspect about this film is that you never see the main character at all. The entire film is POV. Because we never see the main character, the dialogue/voice over almost feels like a diary as he curses and at the same tame reminisces about his ex-wife who clearly broke his heart.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...