Photo: Sony Pictures

Unlike the predominant American cinema today, The Free Rider shows a pretty real picture of the United States bringing out the rotten apples of society. The film is an independent production since 1969, with director Dennis Hopper, who also co-stars with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. The Free Rider was an important symbol of the counterculture of the time and a testament to American identity. It also gives impetus to Hollywood's new wave, which began in the mid-60s and continued into the early 80s. Then American cinema makes a sharp turn and takes a longing for more serious and realistic plots that contrast sharply with the fast-paced western and gangster films of yore. Other notable representatives of this new wave are Bonnie and Clyde and the Graduate - both of whom are 67 years old. 


Today, the United States rather represents the free spirit of man and his limitless possibilities, but this was not the case in the mid-20th century. The country was then dominated by the patriarchal values ​​of the white race. Typically, certain groups were marginalized and deprived of their civil rights, which also led to many prejudices against the different. So while in the 60s various social and political factors, such as the Vietnam War, did not give birth to the so-called. counterculture. It represents an ideological revolution for young people who oppose the injustices in society and refuse to live according to the imposed status quo.

The counterculture is diversified into different subcultures, with hippie movement among the main ones. The demographic boom and the years of abundance since World War II have generated a new generation that no longer has to fight so hard for its intrinsic nature and can make it much easier to build its identity. The changes that this generation is absorbing affect many aspects. Then came the sexual revolution. It liberalizes sexuality and removes it from the context of marriage. Communes are emerging as an alternative to the classic patriarchal structure of the household. Communes are closed societies that live by their own constitution. Through life in them, people sought a purer and simpler way of life, but also indulged in free love with one another, consumed drugs and psychotropic substances, then the LSD era, and professed free spirituality through their passion on Eastern religions. It is also a rebellion against the institutionalized dogmatic church of the United States.

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The "free rider" is born in the midst of an era and reflects its morals to the unimaginable. Two motorcyclists, traveling from Los Angeles to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras Carnival, ride on their iron horses through the wild American south, sweeping vast landscapes on both sides. The gaze flutters serene in the prairie wasteland, which seems to be endless and endless. All the film talks about is freedom. It is expressed in both vision and content. In every town and roadside bistro where they stop, men are embarrassed by their long hair and leather rocker clothes. They are easily attacked and even hated in this closed xenophobic south. The establishments refuse to serve them, the motels close their doors, and Billy and White just dream of freedom. But this freedom is a thorn in people's eyes, because it reminds them how unfree they really are.


While traveling, the characters go through all the manifestations of social protest. They reside briefly in a Hippo commune. They smoke grass and "smoke". They are being arrested for a minor violation of the carnival rules. Dropped and with two prostitutes on hand, they go to a cemetery where they indulge in a psychedelic surreal celebration of their senses and flesh with images so frivolously bright that even the gray monolith of the graves fails to cross them. As if they had defiled the memory of the dead, but in fact they were feasting on that chained spirit of the living, because life is a "blossom" in eternal dynamics, not a sum of fossils.

As is very often the case here, the rebellion of the young man remains misunderstood and quenched forever, and the two riders must pay with their lives for their self-willedness to be different.           

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