“On The Road”, Jack Kerouac‘s 50s novel brought to the screen by Walter Salles (director of “The Motorcycle Diaries“), opened at Cannes to moderate response. The NY Times felt it was a “muted take on Jack Kerouac’s ecstatic American story” and the audience apparently gave it a polite applause.
The film appears more than five decades after the novel’s publication caused a literary sensation and launched a thousand road trips, not to mention innumerable road movies. Earlier directors had attempted to create a film from the work, including Francis Ford Coppola (listed as Executive Producer on the credits… and I believe the one with control of the film rights.)
Salles interviewed poets Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima and Amiri Baraka, who were Kerouac contemporaries. He also interviewed the Kerouac biographers Gerald Nicosia and Barry Gifford, who served as consultants on the film.
Salles spent eight years on the project, five on research alone… including taking the Kerouac/Neil Cassady road trip (the film uses Kerouac’s character names Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty). Characters based on Alan Ginsberg and William S.Boroughs also show up.
I think this is one of those films where I’ll ignore reviews and see for myself.
- Cannes takes it On the Road: Jack Kerouac book adopted by Walter Salles – Canada.com (canada.com)
- On The Road Comes To Cannes: Divides Critics, But Isn’t That Just So Kerouac? (inquisitr.com)
- ArtsBeat: Cannes Film Festival: An Early Look at ‘On the Road’ (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- On the Road (guardian.co.uk)
- 55 years later, ‘On the Road’ is finally a movie (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- On The Road To Awards Season? Kerouac Book Finally Makes It To The Screen After 55 Years – Cannes (deadline.com)
- Kristen Stewart’s ‘On The Road’: Cannes Reviews Are In! (mtv.com)
- Dan Mecca: On the Road Wanders Aimlessly (news.moviefone.com)
- On the Road is unveiled at Cannes (bbc.co.uk)
- Two Clips from ON THE ROAD; Plus a Round-Up of the First Reviews from Cannes (collider.com)
…more precisely to the Merrimac Repertory Theatre in Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, where Beat Generation, a three-act play rediscovered in a New Jersey warehouse in 2005, will be staged for the first time this October.
Kerouac is an author I have followed since reading On The Road when I was a teenager. Beat Generation was written around the same time as a commission from off-Broadway producer Leo Gavin, but it was never produced or published.
Kerouac tried to get Marlon Brando and several producers’ interest in a production, but failed. After that the script was shelved.
It was rediscovered in 2005 and Kerouac’s then agent, Sterling Lord commented:
“It conveys the mood of the time extraordinarily well, and also the characters are authentically drawn.”
The play was apparently written in one night in 1957 and draws on his own life and those of other Beat writers including Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, who subsequently starred in the film Pull My Daisy, which was based in part on Beat Generation.
If you’re a Kerouac fan and near Lowell, MA, in October, this is something to see.
- Hit the Road, Jack (mohighlibrary.wordpress.com)
- Jazz and Jack – Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 90th Birthday (communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com)
- Jerry Cimino: ‘On the Road’ Movie Trailer Promises an Adaptation Worthy of Kerouac (huffingtonpost.com)
- Jack Kerouac, meet Kristen Stewart: ‘On the Road’ movie debuts trailer (insidemovies.ew.com)
- They Bared Their Brains to Heaven: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (observer.com)
- Book Review: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters edited by Bill Morgan and David Stanford (blogcritics.org)
- Last-minute plan: Kerouac in Queens (timeoutny.com)
- Would Kerouac Have Blogged? (globalneighbourhoods.net)