AFI Movie Club: GAS FOOD LODGING – American Film Institute
Gas Food Lodging Film Still - Fairuza Balk and Julie Condra



An indie slice-of-life drama written and directed by Allison Anders, GAS FOOD LODGING follows a single mother who moves to New Mexico with her two teenaged daughters, played by Ione Skye and Fairuza Balk – as they navigate their growing independence and burgeoning sexuality. The film’s executive producer is none other than AFI alum Carl Colpaert (Class of 1983).

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DID YOU KNOW? The film is loosely based on the 1972 coming-of-age novel, “Don’t Look and it Won’t Hurt,” which marked Richard Peck’s debut as a writer of young adult fiction.

DID YOU KNOW? GAS FOOD LODGING marks Allison Anders first film as a solo director. She also used her own mother as a basis for the character of Nora in GAS FOOD LODGING.

DID YOU KNOW? Before she made GAS FOOD LODGING, Allison Anders served as a Production Assistant on Wim Wender’s PARIS, TEXAS, co-directed her first feature, BOARDER RADIO, and received the Nicholl Fellowship and Samuel Goldwyn writing awards for LOST HIGHWAY, a script about her father.

DID YOU KNOW? The fictional Mexican film star Elvia Rivero was named after Allison Anders’ former landlord in Echo Park. For 10 months Anders couldn’t afford to pay the rent, but when she finally got her first writing gig, she paid her back all at once.

DID YOU KNOW? Allison Anders’ 16-year-old daughter Tiffany recommended that she listen to the music of J Mascis of the alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr. Anders eventually ended up hiring him to compose the main score for GAS FOOD LODGING.

DID YOU KNOW? GAS FOOD LODGING premiered at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and was critically acclaimed upon its release.

DID YOU KNOW? Actress Fairuza Balk won the 1993 Independent Spirit Award for best female lead for her role as Shade Evans in GAS FOOD LODGING.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

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-Why does Shade love going to the movies by herself? What do movies represent in her life?

-Why is she fixated on the Mexican movie star Elvia Rivero?

-How does Shade’s bedroom and the rotation of movie one-sheets, David Bowie posters and photos of crushes reflect her inner life and evolution as a young woman?

-How does GAS FOOD LODGING showcase a decidedly female point of view? How do you think writer/director Allison Anders’ experience as a single mom informed the story?

-How does Trudi reveal her own anger and casual racism with the character of Javier in the diner? How is Shade a counterpoint to her sister’s behavior?

-How do Nora and Trudi’s hang-ups about men mirror one another? How are they justified or not based on men’s actions throughout the film?

-How does Trudi’s past sexual abuse inform her current relationships with men, as well as her family? How is her sexuality in the film a way of her taking back control?

-How is this a quietly revolutionary and feminist film when it comes to Trudi’s pregnancy and how she ultimately decides to handle the situation?

– At one point in the film, Shade says, “I’m afraid of not having any daydreams left.” What do you suppose she meant by that? Can you imagine her and her sister Trudie and her mother Nora elevating themselves from their current situation?

-How would you rate GAS FOOD LODGING?


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Comments (1)

Carl Colpaert

So great to see our Cineville film on the AFI movie club

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