Brazil, 2010, 60 minutes
Wed, Apr 28 / 6:45 / Kabuki / AWAR28K
Since its publication in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel On the Road has been a Holy Grail for several filmmakers heroically seeking to bring it to the screen. Of these, none has labored more ardently, or with such Arthurian purity of heart, than Brazilian director Walter Salles. Salles has lived and breathed the project since 2005, at times in the certain belief he was about to realize it, while at other times fearing it will never come to be. Unable to put it from his mind even as he was making other films, he crafted not one but two unseen feature-length documentaries. The first, fashioned in hopeful seasons, is an optimistic paean to the book, the Beats and the road movie; the second, drawn from darker hours, is an elegy to a seemingly unrealizable project and to the road-movie genre itself. (“There is nowhere to go, anymore, nothing more to discover, no point in being on the road,” is his lament.) For this special onstage tribute, celebrating his receipt of this year’s Founder’s Directing Award, Salles has fashioned a third cut from his trove of rich material, and will present an hour-long impressionistic essay featuring screen tests, road movie clips, candid personal reflections, period music, archival footage and interviews with key cultural figures. Never seen before and perhaps never to be screened again, the intimate work poignantly reveals not only the workings of one filmmaker’s mind but also the longings of his heart as he pursues an elusive object of cinematic desire.