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CITIZEN'S BAND

USA, 1977 (MIFF 1978)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Spider (played by Paul Le Mat, the main hot-rodder from American Graffiti), drives a blue and white 1957 limited edition Chevrolet Nomad station wagon. He is hooked on CB, and spends a lot of time monitoring the emergency channel and sending help to accidents.

He lives in a junkyard shack with his old father and his brother, who is hostile towards him for taking away his girlfriend, Electra (played by Candy Clark, also from American Graffiti). Spider's world is filled with the buzz of CB: disembodied voices flickering across the air-waves. His old father becomes animated only by conversations with passing truckers and Spider is afraid to leave him for ' fear that he might tune out altogether.

At the scene of one accident he helps a trucker, Chrome Angel, who is involved in a smash. It turns out that he is a bigamist, and both his wives are on their way to the small town where he is recovering from his injuries. There, he has moved in with a local prostitute known as Hot Coffee, who provides her services for the truckers from her motor home. At one stage, Spider goes on a crusade against CB fiends who jam emergency calls, and his campaign earns him a lot of hostility. But when his dotty father lights out for the woods, all resentments are forgotten as the CB fraternity mounts a magnificent rescue operation.

In the United States there are perhaps twenty-five million CB sets, and at least one person in every twenty holds a CB licence. Pauline Kael commented in the New Yorker that this film 'has caught the language of this sub-culture, in which technology and Yankee know-how are all mixed up with dreams of the past'

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