Every trip, with its overwhelming landscapes and happenings, turns out to be strongly cinematographic: image and sound in progress. Characters come and go out on scene, the stages change; the leading actors cope with unexpected vicissitude. The trip is a story prototype, and, thus, there has appeared the literary genre known as travel stories but also a genre of the big screen: the road movies.
It is impossible to choose the best road movies with some objectivity. Undoubtedly, every list is, at first, a little arbitrary. We have just prepared a list of memorable road movies, taking into consideration that when one chooses, one omits hundreds.
From West to East, we can mention the most mystical A Passage to India, by James Ivory, about the story of M.E. Forster. An updated version with a touch of humour is The Darjeeling Limited, by Wes Anderson, in which three very different brothers begin the search of their mother after their father’s death.
In The sheltering sky, based on Paul Bowles’ book, John Malkovich and Debra Winger perform a writer and his wife who travels aimlessly through North Africa, which becomes an even more remote land.
Also from Europe, Shirley Valentine presents the adventure of a middle aged woman from Great Britain who, tired of talking to the wall, decides to go to Greece in order to have fun.
In Argentina, a classic is El viaje, by Pino Solanas, which shows the long voyage of the character from Ushuaia up to the northern part of Brazil in search of his father. And if we are talking about Latin American routes, we have to mention Diarios de motocicleta, the sweetened version by Walter Salles of the Diaries of Che Guevara. This film shows an interesting tour around Argentina, Bolivia and Perú. The Amazon, at last, is wonderfully depicted in Fitzcarraldo, by Werner Herzog.
We can not end this arbitrary selection without taking the U.S. routes into consideration. Zabriskie Point, by Michelangelo Antonioni, tells the most lysergic side of California. Paris, Texas, by Wim Wenders, is a classic, as well as Thelma and Louise, in which two women run away up to the end of the road. Finally, although it was shot in one place almost all the time, Bagdad Café, by Percy Adlon, talks about the route much more than many tours.
Seeing films of trips can be the best substitute of the journey itself. Besides, it is good to take advantage of time at home because when one travels, it is not possible anymore.