In 1988, nearly a decade after leaving the US, Robert Kramer and his friend and frequent collaborator Paul “Doc” McIsaac (Ice, Doc’s Kingdom), a physician who for years worked in Africa, returned to the States to travel the length of Route 1, from the Canadian border to its end in Key West. With Kramer behind the camera and Doc conducting interviews, the pair take on a coolly ambiguous, outside-looking-in perspective toward the personalities and trends of ‘80s America while paying particular attention to the downtrodden, making stops and conversation at, among other places, a Native American reservation in Maine, Walden Pond, a Georgian diner, and evangelical churches that preach the “truth” about the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the dangers of Disney. Made by one of the co-founders of the radical-left documentary film group Newsreel, Route One/USA is an indispensable, sobering portrait of the multitudinous challenges facing the nation—as monumental and relevant today as it was thirty years ago. Newly digitized and restored with the support of the Centre National du Cinema (CNC). An Icarus Films release.
Watch our recent Q&A with Paul McIsaac & Richard Copans below.