‘No More Road Trips?’ transports its audience across U.S. through eyes of many beholders

No More Road Trips

Rick Prelinger compiled “No More Road Trips?” by combing through thousands of home movies. During today’s screening at IU Cinema, he will engage the audience in discussion.

“No More Road Trips?” ventures far from an ordinary documentary.

Archivist Rick Prelinger traverses the United States in an 80-minute voyage from New England to California and into the past along the way.

His vehicle is other people’s home movies, curated from his extensive collection of 50,000 films.

To the future

Even the future looked different in the past.

As a filmmaker, Prelinger saves extra space for the audience.

Everyone is invited to come along on the road trip and experience it in their own way. And at IU Cinema, the ride is free.

Indiana University Cinema will host a screening of “No More Road Trips?” beginning at 6:30 p.m. today as part of the launch of the First Thursdays festival of the arts and humanities.

The film event also is part of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive Film Preservation Series at IU Cinema.

Prelinger’s curated compilation of home movies allows viewers to gaze out at the scenery through hundreds of eyes. These snippets offer glimpses into the lives of those who once traveled our highways and backroads, then recorded their journeys for posterity.

Taken together, these movies capture the country that was.

Prelinger has made a conscious choice not to impose a true soundtrack or scripted narration onto the images in “No More Road Trips?” Instead, the film is the story, and the audience becomes the soundtrack.


For a moment at least, you are here.

Each screening is an individual event where Prelinger speaks as the images unfold. Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation.

Prelinger has described his approach as “evidentiary cinema.” He rebels against current conventions in documentary filmmaking where stories are heavily narrated, excessively defined and overly told.

In his blog, Prelinger wrote that “original materials tell pretty good stories on their own.”

Archivist on the road

After the free but ticketed IU Cinema screening of “No More Road Trips?” at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Prelinger will participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by Rachael Stoeltje, director of IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.

Prelinger also will speak about “No More Road Trips?”at The Media School. His talk takes place at 2 p.m. Sept. 2 at The Media School, in Room 312 of the newly renovated Franklin Hall.

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