The Protagonists Of Road Movies

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Main characters are often frustrated and/or desperate and the road is their chance to look for something better in life.
Protagonists of many road movies are “individuals at odds with social conventions” (17). These characters are loners that live life on the road, as opposed to the traditional home.
Many road movies protagonists can also be couples, the couples can either be connected through romance or friendship. Their trials and tribulations on the road help shape the narrative and their own character development.
Countercultural characters are found on the road or are the protagonists.
Passengers, hitchikers, ect. are often supporting characters that will be found in road movies.
Most protagonists are white, heterosexual males. Women
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Radios or cassette/CD players are a common prop that narrative allows for the film to supply the audience with a music soundtrack.
Traveling camera work or traveling shots. These are shots that are generally from the perspective of “the driver, or the car itself (through aerial shots and parallel ‘side-by-side’ traveling shots)” (15).
Montage sequences are used in place of continuity editing (which road movies still use).
Road movies also use “frame compositions that incorporate the front or side windshields and rearview mirrors” (16). This is mostly done in road movies as the protagonists POV.
Reflections are a well used technique in most road movies, whether it be a reflection in a window or mirror.
Many road movies include a “vigorous music soundtrack” (16). This is a audible way for the film to express to the audience what it feels like to be driving at high speeds down the open road.
Road movies have open ended narrative structure, this means that many of these films don’t have “a clear-cut beginning, middle, or end” (17).
Conflicts and Resolutions:
“rebellion against conservative social norms”
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The Quest Road Movie is normally set on the journey itself, and what the characters discover about themselves, the world, ect. The Outlaw Road Movie generally concerns itself with the crime character have or will commit on the road, as they run from the law. These two narrative pretexts possess elements from one another, meaning that the two pretexts sometimes mix and blend together.
Cinematic Influences:
The western is a genre that influenced the road movie, with many of the stories involving journeys and “lone riders of the vast open plains trekking through the romanticized but ominous wilderness, the Western anticipates the road movie both visually and thematically” (23).
Another genre that had a great influence on the road movie was the depression-era social conscious movies of the 1930’s-40’s. These films take place in depression-era America, a time when it was hard to find a place known as home, forcing many people (and film characters) to travel out into the world and hit the road.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) is also a classic film that heavily inspired the road movie, as it focuses heavily on “the issue and imagery of mobility is at the heart of the film’s relatively severe social and political commentary”

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