Meandering along country roads rarely bisected by the average tourist, "Blue Highways -- Voices of the Other America" wanders aimlessly through rural areas, gathering up a collection of motley types without a thought for thesis or statement. Similar division on small screen venues reps the best chance for continued travels.

Meandering along country roads rarely bisected by the average tourist, “Blue Highways — Voices of the Other America” wanders aimlessly through rural areas, gathering up a collection of motley types without a thought for thesis or statement. This affectionate but formless portrait by docu helmers Francesco Conversano and Nene Grignaffini originally appeared on Italo state television in four parts, no doubt making the overlong running time seem less rambling. Similar division on small screen venues reps the best chance for continued travels.

The Iraqi war casts a long shadow through the 10 states visited; a number of people comment on their support or disdain for the U.S. mission, including a moving profile of Luke Garcia, a young soldier from Laurel, Montana, home on short leave. But just when it appears the current crisis will act as a determining framework, off we go again on tangents ranging from insular polygamists in Arizona to the proud Gullah-Geechee people of St. Helena Island, S.C. More interviews with immigrants discussing the American dream would have added substance. Segments unspooled at earlier festivals before completion; video quality doesn’t always benefit from bigscreen projection.

Blue Highways -- Voices of the Other America

Italy

Production

Movie Movie presents a RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana/RAI TRE production. (International sales: Movie Movie, Bologna). Produced by Lucia Restivo. Directed, written by Francesco Conversano, Nene Grignaffini.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Paolo Santolini, John Wilsonl; editors, Stefano Barnaba, Giusi Santoro. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Filmmakers of the Present), Aug. 8, 2004. English dialogue. Running time: 127 MIN.
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