2007 SXSW SHORT FILM! Every state in the Union has at least one; that one or those two or more cities that possess an inherent inferiority complex to that state’s marquee metropolis. In Louisiana, that city is Baton Rouge, forever relegated to its status as Louisiana’s “other” city when compared to New Orleans. “Scenic Highway,” director Evan Mather’s not-quite loving travelogue to the Bayou State’s second largest city does what it can to raise the profile of “Red Stick.”
Mather uses a combination of archival Super 8 footage, iconic still photographs, animation, and loopy recreations of famous events in Baton Rouge’s history to create his sardonic and irreverent ode. Relevant selected readings from such authors as Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac set to Juuso Auvinen’s moody, dreamy score provide an aural complement to Mather’s oddly engaging visual history.
If “Scenic Highway” were just some sort of bland Chamber of Commerce puff piece about Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it certainly wouldn’t even bear a mention here. Fortunately for Mather and his viewers, “Scenic Highway” is to the common travelogue what the triple latte is to coffee. And if you happen to be in the neighborhood, you may as well check out Baton Rouge while you’re at it.