On the road again, two uneasy riders: Doc (McIssac), back from ten years in Africa, and independent film maker Kramer, aging liberals who decide to follow Route 1, from the Canadian border through New England to Miami. Much of what they find is depressing. Endemic paranoia, poverty and bigotry – be it religious or patriotic – induce a desperate, introspective mood. With Kramer behind the camera, Doc becomes the focal point of interest, conducting hesitant, respectful interviews, meeting old friends, missing others, and not finding much to reassure him en route. There are odd glimmers of light: the liberal tradition of Massachusetts, Thoreau and Whitman, and community care projects that battle on against the odds. Not for Doc or Kramer the cool irony of Errol Morris or the conscious wackiness of Michael Moore. Doc wants to ‘do something useful in all this shit’, and three-quarters into the movie he surprisingly drops out to do just that. The last 45 minutes or so become distinctly ramshackle, with shifting centres and over-lapping voices. The camerawork and cutting have a snapshot feel, and the overall effect is rather like a book of photographs, ‘A day in the life of America’, fascinating in its detail, overwhelming in its diversity.
Robert Kramer was born in New York in 1940. He studied philosophy and Western European History at Swarthmore College and Stanford University.
In the 1960’s he made his mark as the great filmmaker of the American radical left whose first films painted a portrait of a generation of militants marked by their opposition to the war in Vietnam (In the country, The Edge, and Ice). He was the founder and prime mover of the Newsreel movement. He has travelled to Latin America, North Vietnam in the middle of the war (People’s war), then in Portugal after the April Revolution (Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal, and Gestos e fragmentos), and in post-independance Angola. Once the most directly political era was over and was captured and represented by Kramer in all its ambiguities and contradictions, he has never stopped reflecting in his films on the “heart of darkness” of the West – that dominating madness that he had shown in Le manteau as a “line that goes through time”. read more
After a nearly ten-year sojourn from the States, U.S.-born filmmaker Robert Kramer came back in 1987 with actor Paul McIsaac to create what