Existential Wanderings in Gus Van Sant’s “Walking Trilogy”: Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days
Released successively between 2002 and 2005, Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days by Gus Van Sant all focus on young people who walk relentlessly and who ultimately die. Although the trilogy received much critical coverage and acclaim and has been discussed by several scholars, the very fact that it mostly focuses on people walking seems to have gone surprisingly underexamined. In this chapter, I will therefore try to elucidate why this trilogy shoots characters that do hardly anything but walk, by examining the forms, functions, effects, and meanings that the act of walking takes in them. My aim is thus to underscore how these films, far from being merely formalist, create original, embodied narrativity and discourse that can be deciphered through the characters’ wanderings.