Journeys Onscreen: Theory, Ethics and Aesthetics

This collection concerns the importance of journey narratives to cinema. It charts the importance of journeying as a motif of transformation and as component of a world subject to flows of migration, globalization, and the redrawing of boundaries across the history of the last century and more. It considers space as a dynamic aspect of cinema and location as a key part of what makes each film unique.

As well as the introduction, I contributed the chapter ‘Sic transit: the serial killer road movie’: This identifies a specific form of road movie. It traces how serial killers are frequently defined by an association with mobility, where in their elusiveness and the generalized threat they pose to the social order, or their affinity to a modern world characterized by transience, anonymity and nomadism. These films, diverse amongst themselves, stage an encounter between two subjects of modern mythology, the serial killer and the road. The chapter considers two case studies, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Sightseers, to identify how the different contexts of American independent cinema and British farce confer different values on mobility, with the first having an essential and horrific meaning regarding to the void created by our intimacy with machine technologies within a modern, post-industrial life, and the latter pertaining to the comic inadequacy of the romance of the road in British culture. More than this, it seeks to establish a general characteristic of mobility with regards to characterizing particular kinds of people, that is, of establishing a simultaneous position of nearness and distance, or of being at odds with a frame of reference which however still determines its meaning – a position which has importance both socially, for how we consider the relationship of outsiders to every day life, and artistically, for how we are carried along with characters with whom we do not identify sympathetically.

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