ONE ROAD TO QUARTZSITE
(director/writer: Ryan Maxey; screenwriters: Sophie Hardman/Josh Polen; cinematographer: Ryan Maxey; editor: Ryan Maxey; music: Ilan Rubin; cast: Paul Winer; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Josh Polen/Ryan Maxey: Point + Drop Productions; 2022)
“A pleasing but slight documentary, shot in the cinema verité style.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
First time feature film director Ryan Maxey offers a pleasing but slight documentary, shot in the cinema verité style, of a community of about 2,000 citizens in Arizona, near the California border, in the western part of the state. That community is the small desert town of Quartzsite, AZ., where travelers from the East or North go to in the winter to escape the cold. They stay in campsites, swelling the town’s population at this time of year. These folks, mostly seniors, arrive in their RVs, campers, pickup trucks or cars and for a few months make new friends and meet again old friends from past trips.
Quartzsite calls itself “the Rock Capital of the World.” There are mostly regular folks living alien lives who reside all year in the town.The area also draws some drug addicts who have found a cheap place to live, those who want to live off the grid, as well as a nomad population that moves around (these folks were captured in the 2020 film by Chloé Zhao, Nomadland).
It’s a place where opposites can live side by side and eccentrics can survive no matter how far out. It seems like a place to chill when you’re mainly looking for a cheap place to stay and have no concerns about a career or fitting into society.
It played at the SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022.
REVIEWED ON 5/2/2022 GRADE: B-