July 13, 2013
Film as utterly personal record
Austin, Texas, seen from a car in Richard Linklater's It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988). That was Linklater viewed as passenger in the first few minutes of Slacker, getting off the bus in Austin, introducing the chain of causation, and it is him all the way through this earlier feature, shot on Super 8 in tripod set-ups by Linklater, who is also editor, producer, writer. This is film at its most homemade, impenetrable to almost all others maybe, simply acting as personal record. He drifts, he is on trains, in cars, on foot. We are in Austin, then at other points further north. Twenty-five years later, it’s a footnote to Slacker, and Before Sunrise – prototype of the wandering American – which is why you could only ever find it on the Criterion release of Slacker.