Anthology Film Archives

JAMMIN’ GEARS: TRUCKERS ON FILM

April 3 – April 21

As digital supplanted film, so the dawn of self-driving automation threatens to make the long-haul trucker an endangered species, and so all of us will fall to the singularity in the end. But while there’s still a bit of daylight left, let’s celebrate the love affair between cinema and the 18-wheeler. From the two-fisted proletarian hero of trucking engineer-turned-novelist and screenwriter A.I. “Buzz” Bezzerides and Cy Endfield’s HELL DRIVERS, we roll into the 1970s and the Golden Age of the trucker movie. The trend, including a nationwide craze for the colorful lingo of Citizens Band (CB) radio, was founded in a few identifiable events that had increased national visibility of the trucker: the 1973 oil crisis and the Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform and Modernization Act, a huge step towards the deregulation of the trucking industry which was signed into law by President Carter on June 1, 1980.

The trucker could be a working-class hero of various political persuasions, fighting back against gangster capitalism or against an encroaching nanny state that was squeezing him out of business, a modern-day knight errant on a Diesel-powered steed. As a turbocharged king of the road, the trucker could also pose a holy terror to the peasant drivers scuttling underfoot, lacking their Class-A CDLs, several corrals worth of horsepower, and a couple dozen tons of muscle behind them, and this fact has been taken advantage of by more than a few movies that have cast the truck as a reliable heavy, including Steven Spielberg’s breakthrough DUEL (1971). Good or evil, tough or tender, fighting for whatever definition of freedom you’ve got, the trucker and the truck alone have been delivering the goods in cinema since the first pavement was laid down. So climb up and buckle in, because we’re about to put the hammer down to run through some of the best that the elevated road movie has to offer.

Guest-curated by Nick Pinkerton, who also wrote the introduction and film descriptions.

Special thanks to Chris Chouinard (Park Circus); Rebecca Cleman (EAI); Eric Di Bernardo (Rialto Pictures); Jack Durwood (Paramount); Amélie Garin-Davet (Cultural Services of the French Embassy); Harry Guerro; Jason Jackowski (Universal); David Jennings (Sony); Kristie Nakamura (WB); and Veronica Neely (20th Century Fox).

“Jammin’ Gears” is presented in the wake of our earlier (March) series, “Infrastructure on Film,” and alongside our infrastructural mayhem series, “Infradestruction!” (April 13-21).

Upcoming Screenings

  • Raoul Walsh
    THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT
    April 3 at 7:00 PM
    April 7 at 4:15 PM
    April 9 at 9:15 PM
  • Cy Endfield
    HELL DRIVERS
    April 3 at 9:15 PM
    April 8 at 9:15 PM
    April 12 at 7:00 PM
  • Steven Spielberg
    DUEL
    April 4 at 7:00 PM
    April 6 at 9:00 PM
    April 10 at 7:00 PM
  • Jonathan Kaplan
    WHITE LINE FEVER
    April 4 at 9:15 PM
    April 6 at 6:45 PM
    April 8 at 7:00 PM
  • James Fargo
    EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE
    April 5 at 7:00 PM
    April 7 at 8:45 PM
    April 11 at 6:30 PM
  • Jonathan Mostow
    BREAKDOWN
    April 5 at 9:30 PM
    April 9 at 7:00 PM
    April 11 at 9:00 PM
  • Marguerite Duras
    LE CAMION
    April 6 at 4:45 PM
    April 20 at 4:30 PM
  • John Dahl
    JOY RIDE
    April 7 at 6:30 PM
    April 13 at 4:30 PM
  • Sam Peckinpah
    CONVOY
    April 10 at 9:15 PM
    April 12 at 9:15 PM
    April 21 at 9:00 PM
  • Richard Franklin
    ROADGAMES
    April 20 at 9:30 PM
    April 21 at 4:00 PM

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