My Favourite Film of 1971.

Film Long before Doctor Who, Sherlock, before Jekyll, Steven Moffat was primarily known for writing sitcoms. Although Joking Apart is still my favourite of his, Coupling is a close second and it's during episode six of the first series that I first heard about Nic Roeg's Walkabout, via all of the lustful shrillness of the lustful Jeff. "Cor" he emphasises in his strong Irish tones, "Jenny Agutter", emphasising every single consonant.  As you can imagine this rather coloured my viewing of the film for the first time a couple of years later on dvd from Lovefilm.

Is the "walkabout" film a genre and how is it distinct from the road movie?  In more recent years we've seen Tracks and Wild, both about young women on long journeys, the latter arguably a Hollywood interpretation of the former, although they both tell very different true stories and are equally valid.  But there are also films like The Way Back, Monsters or The Road about extreme foot based journeys in which the stakes are even more life and death within a historical or apocalyptic landscape.

All of them are to some extent quest narratives and like road movies they have a definitive destination, although this tends to have a much greater psychological emphasis about fighting demons and self-actualisation as well as having a geographical goal.  They're also the purest of quest narratives which is why you could also argue that plenty of Disney films and all of The Lord of the Rings films should be mentioned in the same breath, all of which are set in places which don't really have roads.

But there's also a cycle of films about solitude.  Moon.  Gravity.  Into The Wild.  The Martian to an extent.  Cast Away.  All Is Lost.  Jumping Jack Flash.  Films with a single protagonist on screen for much of the duration nursing their character demons and dealing with many of the same issues related to spending too much time with themselves.  So perhaps there's a solitude genre that's worth investigating.  But Walkabout wouldn't fit because Agutter's character's never alone.  Yet she walks.  And walks.  And walks.

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