Motels, Automobility, and Social Immobility in American Cinema

The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Danielle Childs explores the transformation of the motel in American cinema from a temporary pit-stop to a post-recession purgatory that epitomizes marginalization and social immobility.
[Ed. Note: This article is part of a dossier on Mediating Urban Automobility.]

In his efforts to define the “specific character of domination” of the automobile in the twentieth century, sociologist John Urry argued that “the system of automobility” comprises six components that together generate and reproduce the supremacy of the car over all other mobilities.1John Urry, “The ‘System’ of Automobility,” Theory, Culture & Society 21, nos. 4-5 (2004): 25. One component, according to Urry, is that it exists as “an extraordinarily powerful complex constituted through technical and social interlinkages with other industries.”2Urry, “The ‘System’ of Automobility,” 26. Among his list of these industries, the motel in particular stands out as having received pointed and sustained attention in American culture. As a portmanteau of “motor hotel,” even the word “motel” denotes an architectural form with an intimate, symbiotic relationship to automobility. Unlike some of the other industries spotlighted by Urry—road infrastructure, hotels, suburban houses, leisure complexes, etc.—the motel would not even exist if not for the car.

Early iterations of the motel predate the US Interstate Highway System, having appeared in the early 1920s as a direct response to the needs of a newly automotive American middle class. While it was thought that a modern hotel was essential to the prosperity of a town or city, architects’ failure to cater to the needs of the increasingly mobile American public left hotel rooms unfilled and motorists seeking alternative lodging arrangements.3John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle, and Jefferson S. Rogers, The Motel in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 25. This disconnect prompted the rise of early roadside lodging architectures such as auto camps, cabin and cottage courts, motor courts, and motor inns, all of which are considered to be types of motel according to highway historians.4Jakle et al., The Motel in America, 23–56. As such, for almost as long as Americans have been driving, they have also been staying in motels.

This relationship between automotive travel and the architectures that facilitate it has a distinct, codified representational history with significant formal and thematic legacies, especially within American film. Across the twentieth century, filmic motels have operated as hide-outs for criminals on the run, reliable pit stops for road trippers, love nests for illicit rendezvous, and last resort accommodations for stranded travelers. This is to say that the motel has largely appeared on screen as a “stopping place”—a temporary, provisional solution to the problem of accommodation or the need for secrecy.5David B. Clarke, Valerie Crawford Pfannhauser, and Marcus A. Doel, eds., Moving Pictures/Stopping Places: Hotels and Motels on Film (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009), 1. They are fixities that facilitate further movement, offering pregnant pauses in narratives of continual mobility. However, this article traces the motif of motel arrival in American cinema in order to identify a shift in the character of the filmic motel from a figure of mobility to one of immobility, from a facilitator of movement to a site of stasis. This is not to imply that the motel has ceased to appear as a stopping place, but rather that the motel has increasingly become a provisional home within the neoliberal landscape in contemporary cinema—a trend that marks a significant change in the relationship between the motel, the car, and automobility both in real life and on screen.

In Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934), a screwball comedy and early progenitor of the lovers-on-the-run trope, we see spoiled heiress Ellie and recently fired newsman Peter (Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable) making their way up the East Coast on a Greyhound night bus during a rainstorm. Highway patrolmen wave down the bus, informing the driver that the bridge ahead has been washed out and won’t be clear until morning. They let the passengers know that there’s an auto camp up the road where they can spend the night. Peter squints into the distance searching for the lights of the promised shelter (see fig. 1). Satisfied, he summons Ellie, and the film cuts to a close-up frame within a frame shot of the motel sign reading “Dyke’s Auto Camp” (see fig. 2). A cartoon hand pointing to the right signals the location of the office and the camera pans in the direction indicated until it alights on Ellie, huddling beneath an overhang and steeling herself from the rain as Peter arranges a room with the front office—tricky business as the couple is not married.

Figure 1. Peter spots the auto camp in the distance. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)
Figure 2. An early motel sign. It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)

Though the filmmakers couldn’t have known it at the time, this brief sequence introducing motel architecture initiated an iconographic legacy within Hollywood cinema that operated with exceptional recurrence throughout the twentieth century and still persists today. The narrative formula, which presents the rural roadside motel as the answer to an unexpected roadblock coming to the rescue of detained highway travelers, is a common trope in American film: the motel shines out of the darkness, characters squint to get a look at it through the rain, they hurry inside to escape the elements, sloughing off wet jackets and dumping luggage onto the floor. Peter and Ellie’s unexpected motel tenancy constitutes a quite innocent iteration of the trope, but readers will most readily associate the plot device with a sinister opening gambit of the horror genre.

The terminal pit stop of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) at the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) constitutes an early example of the now clichéd narrative sequence in which characters on a road journey suffer a breakdown, roadblock, or accident and, finding themselves in need of recuperation and shelter, are confronted with the rural motel as a solution to their desperation (see figs. 3 and 4). The relief of roadside accommodation in a moment of crisis lures lost travelers into a false sense of security before something or someone (usually an evil motel manager) ensures the site of their pit stop becomes their final resting place. This set-up occupies a distinct strand of horror cinema, including films such as Motel Hell (1980), Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983), Mayhem Motel (2001), Identity (2003), Vacancy (2007), No Tell Motel (2012), and No Vacancy (The Helpers) (2012). The rural motel therefore has a salient narrative and aesthetic legacy as a site of unforeseen, provisional arrival—the result of failing vehicles, of interrupted mobility. And not just for the guests. One might recall that in Psycho, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) explains that the Bates Motel was built before “they moved away the highway,” rendering the business not just geographically but economically sidelined, therefore inhibiting Norman’s upward mobility. The Bates Motel is presented as a casualty of Eisenhower’s Federal Interstate System—its decline inextricably linked to its isolation from the flow of automobile traffic.

Figure 3. Marion arrives at the Bates Motel. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Figure 4. The Bates Motel sign obscured by windshield wipers. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

In contemporary Hollywood cinema, this link between the motel and social immobility has been further explored in a recent cycle of films responding to the 2008 housing crisis, which depict the urban motel as a provisional domicile for the so-called “hidden homeless” (e.g., 99 Homes, 2014; American Honey, 2016; The Florida Project, 2017). Notably, the urban integration of the motels in these films cannot save tenants from socioeconomic paralysis. Rather, it is the proximity of these motels to the opportunities supposedly promised by American cities that sharpens the contours of their precarity. Furthermore, if, as John Urry argues, automobility is “the predominant global form of ‘quasi-private’ mobility that subordinates other mobilities,” then these characters’ status as carless passengers and walkers further signifies their marginalization.6Urry, 26.

In an article for the Society for Commercial Archaeology, Elsa Court notes that the practice of using motel rooms to compensate for a lack of social housing dates back to the 1980s. “Faced with a shortage of state shelters,” she writes, “agencies have been striking deals with motel owners for years to house the welfare recipients of their communities.” While the practice may extend back several decades, this contemporary concentration in American independent cinema appears to be a pointed filmic response to the 2008 housing crisis, which saw Americans displaced from secure housing at an unprecedented rate: 3.1 million foreclosure filings were issued in 2008 alone, meaning one in every fifty-four households received a notice. Moreover, the use of motels as homes in these films is presented as unofficial rather than state sanctioned, serving as an indictment of the United States’s failure to provide adequate social housing. For instance, in The Florida Project, Moonee and her mother Halley (Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite) must “move out” from their usual motel room and spend one night at a different nearby motel once a month so as to not establish illegal full-time residency at the Magic Castle Motel (see fig. 5).

Figure 5. Moonee and her mother Hallee attempt to get a room at a different motel for the night. The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)

Though the motel has always had an infamous relationship to criminality, both in film and real American life, using the motel to depict the crime of being poor in America is a fresh, if not totally new, development in cinematic representation—one that highlights “a new surge in this cultural fascination with national identities founded on the unequal distribution of mobility on the one hand and the validation of individualist pursuits on the other.”7Elsa Court, The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography: 1955–1985 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 180. If driving cars and owning homes are paradigmatic individualist pursuits in the United States, then the mitigated automobility of the walkers and passengers for whom the motel is home is a microcosmic example of unequal mobility in urban America. The American motel—a staple of automotive infrastructure and formerly a facilitator of endless free movement around the nation–has for some residents devolved into a place of terminal stasis, one in which limited physical mobility mirrors tenants’ limited social mobility.

To better contextualize this devolution, the motel’s more regular cinematic invocation as a stopping place that, alongside motor vehicles, enables the American pursuit of the “absolute right” to “unrestricted motion of the individual” must be noted.8Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1977), 14. Despite the motel’s ubiquity on screen, it has been an understudied space in the American cinematic landscape, a brief critical pit stop sometimes made in larger discussions of the road movie. Narratively speaking, the most basic requirement of the road movie is that a character (or characters) leave the familiarity and routine of their everyday life for the flexibility and freedom of road travel. The motel, as a periodic and reliable roadside accommodation, surfaces at the edges of the road (and in frame) to provide temporary shelter to characters before they continue their journeys. Representationally speaking, the motif of motel arrival is usually presented in road movies as elective and full of ease: at the first hint of road-weariness the clear-sighted driver spots a glittering motel sign in the distance, pulls off the main road and into the motel parking lot, and drives the car straight up to the motel room door, finding him or herself in a serviceable room in a matter of minutes (see fig. 6).

Figure 6. A glamorous motel arrival in True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993).

But what does it look like to be shuttled from motel to motel, to follow the same trajectories of road movie protagonists but with none of the same agency over one’s path? Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is what we might call a passenger’s road movie. Not to say that the passenger’s perspective is wholly ignored in other road films, but that here, a driverly perspective is uniquely and almost totally abandoned in favor of the passenger’s point of view. The film was inspired by a 2007 New York Times article about magazine crews made up of underprivileged youths who’d been sold on the idea of becoming entrepreneurs and exploring America, but who suffer, emotionally and financially, from the precarity of life on the road and the brutal economics of working at the bottom of a pyramid scheme in the dead industry of print magazine subscriptions. The film’s passenger-protagonist is Star (Sasha Lane), who at the beginning of the film is an impoverished young woman stuck taking care of her two younger siblings whilst their parents neglect to provide support or attention. Following a chance encounter at the local supermarket, Star joins up with a young “mag crew” who travel from city to city across America’s so-called “flyover states” selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Their mode of transport is a high-capacity van, which we as audience members inhabit alongside the crew due to POV cinematography captured from the van’s back seats.

The camera movement in American Honey’s van scenes work against the film’s “open road” setting, portraying the road as a place of limitation and constraint rather than freedom and spontaneity. The road scenes shot inside the crew’s van may not seem limited at first; given that there are only so many ways to shoot car interiors, the camerawork may seem more so a product of practical constraints rather than a proactive choice. But consider the various ways of shooting the road that have been practiced throughout the history of the genre. Take Wim Wenders, who directed both American and German road films and is considered a key student of and contributor to the road movie genre. Elsa Court, in a chapter on Paris, Texas (1984), and with respect to film historian Kathy Geist’s own study of the director, notes that Wenders’s “signature shots” on the road include “people in cars seen through windshields, moving roads and countryside seen through a camera placed inside the car, and ‘exterior shots [of] vehicles speeding past the camera.’”9Court, The American Roadside, 120. Considering Wenders’s variety of road-based cinematographic choices makes Arnold’s strict inside-looking-out aesthetic strategy for the van footage seem more intentionally designed to exemplify the mitigated agency of these hypermobile teens.

Figure 7. A poster for American Honey showing a traditional road movie angle on the mag crew’s van, one which notably does not actually appear in the film.

Though the crew is constantly packing up and moving on, traveling to different states, and finding new markets to sell their wares, the predictability of the chain motel as the place they will rest each night grants the crew a measure of routine and stability, manifesting as one of the few reliable aspects of their otherwise deeply unrooted lifestyles. In other words, because the mag crew lives a life on the road, the interstate motels they frequent serve as de facto homes for these teens who by and large have no other homes to return to. That said, the motif of the motel arrival looks different here, lacking both the mystery and scandal of the terminal pit stop arrival, as well as the sense of novelty and adventure of the road movie arrival. American Honey offers a historically telling permutation of the motif.

In an early van scene, the groups’ near constant negging of each other is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Kansas City skyline. Almost uniformly, the characters are shown leaning forward out of their seats and turning to peer out the van’s windows. The scene cuts back and forth between the crew’s searching faces and images of the cityscape streaking by as various exclamations about the scale and mythology of the city are uttered: “I never seen so many tall things in my life!”; “This is where Superman lives”; “Wizard of Oz, Dorothy”; “I ain’t never seen so damn many train tracks in my life” (see figs. 8 and 9). The irony of the crew’s attempts to situate the city before them as a part of a known cultural lexicon, one that would validate the awe they experience while gazing upon the city, is that both The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy and DC Comics’s Superman are residents of Kansas state, not Kansas City, Missouri, where they now find themselves.

Figure 8. A member of the mag crew documents Kansas City. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Figure 9. The van crosses an overpass above a rail hub. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)

Still, the way the crew ogles the size of the skyscrapers and works to position this metropolis as a cultural hub cultivates a sense of wonder in the van that is interrupted by a sudden cut to the motel where they will be staying. They have not left the city, but they are now literally and figuratively on the wrong side of the tracks, on the outskirts of Kansas City’s urban core. Silence replaces the energetic chatter that overwhelmed the van moments before as the crew’s bubble, their urban reverie, has been burst, replaced now by a new kind of trance. Where one moment ago they were marvelling from a distance at the height of the skyscrapers, the number of train tracks, and the lore of the city, they now remark on the “sketchy ass motel,” as they take stock of their surroundings. Up close, they regard the motel with a sense of tired familiarity (“this looks like the place”) and mild contempt.

In some ways this scene lines up with the iconographic history of the arrival motif. A slow-paced tracking shot captured through the window of a vehicle (i.e., the car as dolly) moving past door after door of the motel’s repetitious façade is a classic filming strategy used to capture the architecture. But unlike in It Happened One Night or Psycho or countless other motel films, there is no shot of the motel sign, no sense of having arrived at a particular destination, no sense of the “heightened graphicness” for which the cinematic motel is typically known.10Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1999), 461, as cited in Sarah Treadwell, “The Motel: An Image of Elsewhere,” Space and Culture 8, no. 2 (May 2005): 217. In her own writing on the motel, architect and scholar Sarah Treadwell says we might think of “heightened graphicness” (a term borrowed from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project) as the “suppression of materiality in pursuit of clarity.”11Treadwell, “The Motel,” 218. But American Honey’s images of the motel appear to instead bring materiality to the fore, highlighting traces of the domestic in the typically sterile space of the motel exterior, and so making images of the motel muddied rather than clear. Life behind the door of the motel room, usually so neatly concealed, is here spilling out into the streets as evidence of the motel’s homeliness: children play outside in the parking lot, pets linger in the small patches of grass framing the black top, tenants perch protectively in the exterior corridors assessing the new arrivals (see figs. 10 and 11).

Figure 10. Domestic spillage outside the motel. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Figure 11. Domestic spillage outside the motel. American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)

Not only is the clarity of the motel image muddied by these traces of the domestic sphere, but shots of the motel are further muddied in that they are literally obstructed by the crowd of passengers the camera must weave between to see out the van’s windows. In his work on American roadside architecture, Chester H. Liebs writes about how the speed of motorists’ travel and the way motorists, as spectators, watch a “movie through the windshield” informed architectural design decisions.12Chester H. Liebs, Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995). Indeed, the width and horizontality of a car’s front windshield does appear to mirror the aspect ratio of most modern films. While Arnold emphasizes the act of looking out from the van, her emphasis on the passenger’s perspective, from the side windows rather than the front windshield, presents a constrained image—one bolstered by the film’s square aspect ratio. Altogether, this “muddiness”—of location, of point of view, of the motel’s role as easy temporary accommodation—complicates intuitive linkages between automobility and agency. The relentless and compulsive hypermobility of these passengers hinders a normative coming-of-age experience in which these teens might realize some form of upward social mobility. Instead, their persistent tenancy at these dilapidated motels communicates social stagnancy, working against the motel’s reputation as an agent of mobility.

As already mentioned, depictions of the motel as a home in film are aptly poised to comment on the hierarchies of mobility that exist in urban space because they examine the plight of the carless within the context of an architecture built exclusively for the car. Such is the predicament of the characters in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, a neorealist drama centered on the hidden homeless who permanently occupy the Magic Castle Motel. Once a honeymoon destination for Disney World tourists, the Magic Castle now functions as a sort of welfare hotel for marginalized peoples living in the shadow of Walt Disney’s utopian “city of the future.” The Magic Castle is part of a loose network of businesses in Orlando’s Kissimmee suburb that approximate the attractions and amenities of nearby Disney World, forming a kind of pseudo-Disney playground, which Moonee, Scooty, Dicky, and Jancey (the children of motel residents played by Brooklynn Prince, Christopher Rivera, Aiden Malik, and Valeria Cotto respectively) navigate unaccompanied over the course of a summer while their parents keep impending homelessness at bay.

Motel arrival looks different here for a number of reasons too. Actually, the Magic Castle isn’t somewhere we really arrive at, rather the film can be said to document a series of motel returns that manifest novel permutations of motel iconography from a pedestrian perspective. Cultural theorist Michel de Certeau has written about the plight of urban walkers in a chapter entitled “Walking the City” from his book The Practice of Everyday Life, explaining that those who navigate the city on foot “are walkers, or Wandersmänner, whose bodies follow the thicks and thins of the urban ‘text’ they write about without being able to read it.”13Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 91–93. Inspired by his experience of going up into the World Trade Center and looking down on New York City, de Certeau compares the walker to the “voyeur,” explaining that the man who travels up is transformed by his journey from a pedestrian lost in the nervousness of the city into a voyeur and the world before him “by which he was once ‘possessed’ into a text that lies before one’s eyes.”14de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 93. The man who travels up gains a clarity of vision that cannot belong to those below. And for those below, says de Certeau, the city is illegible, limited as they are by a perspective that can only see fragments of the whole as they go about trying to organize space to suit the reality of their everyday lives.

Within the context of this discussion of automobility, I would like to suggest that the “car driver” is another type of urban voyeur—a spectator, as Liebs might put it—watching the city unfold before her like a “movie through the windshield.”15Nigel Thrift, Spatial Formations (London: Sage, 1996), 282–284. Sequestered in the automobile, her perception is framed by the parameters of the windshield, through which she sees image after image of signs catered to her precise mode of seeing as a “speed-reading motorist” (see figs. 12 and 13). She is set apart from the pedestrian experience of fragmentation, the city made legible to her by the infrastructure catering to the car-driver. It gives her a sense of agency, of clarity, an authoritative distance. All things the walkers of The Florida Project lack.

Figure 12. A “car-driver” watching Los Angeles speed by in Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1991).
Figure 13. A “car-driver” watching Los Angeles speed by in Night on Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1991).

In viewing the film’s series of “motel returns” we see that the children compensate for their lack of access and agency with innovation. When the children make their way back from the day’s adventures, they often return to the motel via creative means. The film depicts the children running home along a dirt path carved out through tall grass, across a makeshift bridge, and past an abandoned shopping cart (see fig. 14). The informality of the dirt trail signals the subordination of walking to driving as a means of mobility within the urban context. Just as the motel is only a provisional home, this trail is only a provisional path—an indication of a lack of structural support from the state.

Figure 14. Moonee and Scooty trek across a makeshift path back to the motel. The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)

The closest the film gets to the traditional motel arrival sequence is the film’s opening scene, which shows the children already enmeshed within the motel environment. Moonee and Scooty are tucked away in an alcove under the stairs, leaning against the purple concrete walls of the “castle,” when they hear their names shouted in the distance. The film cuts to a Steadicam shot of Dicky running up the motel driveway and shouting for his friends above the low roar of highway traffic on nearby Route 192. Shot from behind Dicky’s head, his running body is kept in perfect focus as the Magic Castle looms in the background, blurry and out of focus. We can just make out the faux stonework of the motel-castle’s fortified keep, the haze of the motel’s purple paint job, and the illegible sign guiding guests towards the front entrance (see fig. 15).

These introductory shots of the motel are telling in that they purposely obscure the “heightened graphicness” of the motel, removing the novelty from motel arrival in line with the perspective of the full-time motel-dwelling children, for whom such scenes are commonplace. Dicky travels the path of the car, but his “arrival” lacks the moment of motel recognition that is a staple of both the road movie and the terminal pit stop. The motel is a backdrop rather than a destination. And that it is kept out of focus—an urban text unwilling to be read—speaks to both the illegibility of the city from the position of walkers, and to the illegibility of the motel as a home within the urban environment.

Figure 15. Dicky walks the path of the car on his way to the Magic Castle Motel. The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)

Appropriating Lauren Berlant’s term, Pamela Robertson Wojcik includes both American Honey and The Florida Project in a “cycle” of films she calls “Slow Death Cinema.”16Pamela Robertson Wojcik, “Perpetual Motion: Mobility, Precarity, and Slow Death Cinema,” in Media Crossroads: Intersections of Space and Identity in Screen Cultures, eds. Paula J. Massood, Angel Daniel Matos, and Pamela Robertson Wojcik (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2021), 111–124. The premise of Wojcik’s categorization is that there are an increasing number of contemporary coming-of-age films that break decisively with the usual sense of optimism ascribed to mobility in that genre. Instead, such films feature compulsory mobility as a product of marginalized characters’ precarity, rather than elective, leisurely or adventurous mobility. In including these films within her cycle, Wojcik has inadvertently acknowledged the motel as a definitive cinematic space of recession-era precarity, somehow both a pillar of automotive infrastructure and a contemporary icon of immobility and social stagnation.


1 John Urry, “The ‘System’ of Automobility,” Theory, Culture & Society 21, nos. 4-5 (2004): 25.
2 Urry, “The ‘System’ of Automobility,” 26.
3 John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle, and Jefferson S. Rogers, The Motel in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 25.
4 Jakle et al., The Motel in America, 23–56.
5 David B. Clarke, Valerie Crawford Pfannhauser, and Marcus A. Doel, eds., Moving Pictures/Stopping Places: Hotels and Motels on Film (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009), 1.
6 Urry, 26.
7 Elsa Court, The American Roadside in Émigré Literature, Film, and Photography: 1955–1985 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 180.
8 Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1977), 14.
9 Court, The American Roadside, 120.
10 Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1999), 461, as cited in Sarah Treadwell, “The Motel: An Image of Elsewhere,” Space and Culture 8, no. 2 (May 2005): 217.
11 Treadwell, “The Motel,” 218.
12 Chester H. Liebs, Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
13 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 91–93.
14 de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 93.
15 Nigel Thrift, Spatial Formations (London: Sage, 1996), 282–284.
16 Pamela Robertson Wojcik, “Perpetual Motion: Mobility, Precarity, and Slow Death Cinema,” in Media Crossroads: Intersections of Space and Identity in Screen Cultures, eds. Paula J. Massood, Angel Daniel Matos, and Pamela Robertson Wojcik (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2021), 111–124.
Childs, Danielle Rae. "Motels, Automobility, and Social Immobility in American Cinema." Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture 8, no. 3 (September 2023).
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