Sophie Calle French
Gregory Shephard American

Not on view

Watching Sophie Calle’s take on a road movie, one longs for the car to crash—a realistic possibility, given its propensity for breakdowns. The temperamental Cadillac ferries Calle and fellow traveler Gregory Shephard across a series of unremarkable American landscapes. Between New York and California, the sometime lovers bicker and sulk in gas stations and grim diners, filming all the while. It is 1992, and Calle, a French conceptual artist has roped the hunky Greg—a failed gallerist and aspiring filmmaker—into a cross-country trip, during which they will document subjective accounts of the experience on his-and-hers camcorders. Their dueling confessionals reverberate through the claustrophobic cab, anticipating the cringe-vérité of reality TV. Testy from the outset, the observations sour as the miles progress: Shephard resents Calle’s success, and slinks off at rest stops to phone his exes. Calle wants his affection, but deplores his intellect, wishing dryly that he knew more about opera and less about “self-help and vitamins.” Calle’s title winks at the scientific method, but her investigative practice is characteristically and unflinchingly personal, testing the limits of the documentary mode. Blinkered by their cameras, she and Shephard barrel down an endless stretch of freeway toward an inevitable end.

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