I Need a Ride to California

Directed by Morris Engel
Year: 1968
Country: U.S.
Language: English
English Closed Captions

New York–based filmmaker Morris Engel, best known for his black-and-white urban masterpiece Little Fugitive (1953), began production on his only 35mm color feature film, I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA, in 1968; the film was never released. Inspired by day-glo psychedelia, societal upheaval, and sexual liberation, Engel crafts the story of Lilly, a naïve, lonely young Californian who finds herself in New York City. Lilly embraces the flower child movement, right down to the bare feet and a ring of daisies in her blond hair. But the city, and Lilly’s circle of acquaintances, are not as compassionate as she hoped they would be. I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA is a complex, sometimes raw portrait of the era, with Lilly as a fragile voyager in Greenwich Village’s tempestuous counter culture scene. While Engel’s prior feature films explored idyllic, nostalgic moments shared by children, I NEED A RIDE TO CALIFORNIA marks his mature aesthetic engagement with the unsettled social and political landscape of American in the late 1960s. -- MOMA

Lilly Shell
Rod Perry

Directed by Morris Engel