Road Scholar: Roger Weisberg’s Docu of Romanian-Born Poet and Radio Commentator Andrei Codrescu

Sundance Film Fest 1993–A droll, quirky documentary by Roger Weisberg, Road Scholar centers on an interesting real life character, Romanian-born poet and radio commentator Andrei Codrescu, as he interviews other real-life interesting characters.

Serving as wry tour guide on a cross-country odyssey, which explores the sometimes-hilarious spiritual quests of ordinary Americans, Andrei Codrescu is the interviewer that Roger Weisberg chose to feature in his documentary, originally slated to take place on the highways and byways of Florida.

Codrescu, a Romanian born poet, novelist, public radio feature, professor of English, would not agree to the original conditions suggested by the film’s director-producer Roger Weisberg.

Weisberg, set on having Codrescu “star” in his documentary, let him decide the places the documentary would go. As a result, the film follows this very fascinating man through some of the nations most interesting areas, and to some of the most interesting characters. Allen Ginsberg, Codrescu’s mentor, starts off the film, and is followed by a string of interviewees that range from the unbelievable to the absurd, like an old-timers punk-rock band from Sun City, AZ to a Statue of Liberty guard, form a New Age channeler in Santa Fe, to a roller-skating congregation in Chicago.

This documentary gives its audience a view of the United States and its citizens that is not often seen. More importantly the fringe groups of the United States are often judged harshly and seen as freaks or deviants, but Weisberg and Codrescu seem to approach their subjects with a much more forgiving eye. Road Scholar seems to be fascinating not only because of the interviewees but also because the interviewer has such an interesting history and take on Americans.