Travel Directions


Travel Directions. In telling the story of their own trips, vacations and excursions through film, amateur movie makers use opening and closing credits, as well as footage of sign posts and road signs, to articulate the narration of their experience “into stages”. While opening and closing credits – like captions for intermissions and transitions between sequences – belong to the paratextual dimension of thresholds, footage of sign posts and road signs enters into the diegesis and is thus internal to the film text or “intra-textual”. However, Roger Odin claim that a key feature of family film is the absence of text. Given this assertion, we may ask what is the function of textual insertions within amateur movie makers’ narrations of their journeys, especially since textual additions are extremely common in amateur travel films. As was already mentioned, Odin identifies the deliberate absence of textual elements as a key feature of family films a feature that indeed determines their significance as a sign. One of the multiple readings that Odin offers of this absence is that the stories involved in family films cannot be constrained within narrative limits. The compulsiveness to shoot every event imprinted in the film would constrain one to participate in a larger film extending throughout the entire family history, the end of which would only come with the family’s own extinction. We may ask how textual inserts relate to the narrative structure of the story. On the one hand, textual inserts usually serve to indicate the places and year of a particular experience (and to mark the end of the story with the word “end”). On the other hand, textual inserts serve not only to delimit the spatio-temporal dimension of events, but also to constrain them within a finite space that is delimited as “other”— the space of traveling within which the amateur filmmaker’s journey unfolds next to their loved ones as an extra-ordinary occasion external to the domestic context.

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