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No More Road Trips?, a new feature-length documentary by Rick Prelinger, had a “Work-in-Progress” screening tonight at the SXSW Festival. Prelinger, who almost single-handedly put industrial films and other type of ephemeral filmmaking on the map and in people’s consciousness, has been amassing a huge collection of home movies (9,000 so far) and has used them in his Lost Landscapes of San Francisco and Detroit screenings, which featured home movies from those cities. With No More Road Trips?, however, he crosses America from east to west, looking at both the rites of travel and how we viewed and documented the landscape. Prelinger describes the motivation behind the film in its blog:
Home movies about road trips are especially wonderful, and my fascination with these (especially with the view of the landscape seen through the car window) led me to make No More Road Trips?. These private views of the public landscape show much more than roads and roadsides. History is embedded in the travel films I’m using — traces of the Great Depression, World War II and Vietnam, changes in land use, the fate of the Rust Belt city and town, the transition from two-lane roads to freeways, and much more — all show up in my film.