"They were like the man with the dungeon stone and gloom, rising from the underground, the sordid hipsters of America, a new beat generation that I was slowly joining." Jack Kerouak
On The Road ...Again
After 44 years, possibly the longest gestation period in cinema history, the film version of Jack Kerouac’s classic Beat novel "On the Road" is finally hitting the big screen. Francis Ford Coppola, then a rising director-screenwriter still in his 20s, bought the film rights to it back in 1968.
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences. While many of the names and details of Kerouac's experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in On the Road have real-world counterparts.
The film, directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, was shot in autumn 2010. But it has now been announced that "On the Road" will open in the UK on September 21. A number of other European territories have been confirmed, the first of them being Belgium on May 23.
Intriguingly, given that the film was partly financed by France’s MK2 productions, the French release date has still to be announced. But France and Belgium often go simultaneously with for movie openings – and May 23 is in the second week of the Cannes Film Festival.
This suggests that "On the Road" may have its world premiere in Cannes. Director Salles is a firm favorite on the Croisette; his films "The Motorcycle Diaries" (2004) and "Linha de Passe" (2008) were screened there.
For more than three decades after Coppola bought the rights, "On the Road" became one of the great elusive unmade movies. In Paris in 1997, Coppola told me he originally wanted to shoot "On The Road" in black-and-white on 16 mm film. “I tried to make it, but couldn’t get the money,” he said. “Now it keeps becoming more important."
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