Is it possible to live a life on the road?
Perhaps the ultimate road movie outcast, Mona does not cruise the highway on a sleek motorbike, sporting a sexy leather jacket, wrecking subversive havoc. This European road movie refuses to romanticize rebellious driving/traveling, as most American road movies do. ...Mona is ugly and disheveled; she has no car nor any impulse to drive, a truly disturbing homeless drifter (Laderman, 267).
I know many have already used this quote to begin their blogs, but I couldn't help but to use it because it encompasses exactly what I think of the two films. The last word I would use to describe Vagabond would be romanticized. At no point during my viewing of the film did I think Mona was being portrayed as physically appealing. The men in Easy Rider had their rugged good looks and the rebel attitude going for them, while Mona appealed as a free spirit, but her rugged looks were far from good. While the men in Easy Rider find it hard to find initial places to stay, Mona is not turned away until after she stays a while in a specific place. People tend to feel empathy for her rather than the men. She is not seen as a threat but of more of a nuisance. As far as the characters in Vagabond are concerned, a woman should not be traveling alone because it is dangerous. The characters in Easy Rider think that the men themselves are dangerous. The men in Easy Rider are also not starving and they get there money from drugs. Mona never has much money and she simply gets petty handouts. She is traveling in the cold winter time and the men travel in the comforts of summer. While the men must guard their lives from people who disagree with their choices, she must also defend the sanctity of her body. She is striving to survive in the wild while Billy and Wyatt are simply trying one way of living. It is living versus survival between Mona and the motor boys.
Although there are mass amounts of differences between the two films, I think that the similarities lie in the reasons for the journey and the effects of the journey. Both Mona and the men are looking for a way to live outside of the constraints of society. They travel from town to town and meet new people who help them of hinder them in some way. Neither of them ever seem to get comfortable in any one place and therefore must always keep moving. They aren't searching for a place to live, but for a way to live. Both films end with the tragic deaths of the main characters. However, the final difference of the two films is that the death of the Easy Riders is involuntary and the result of an act of hate. Mona is because of the elements and also partly because she gives up. She chooses to lay in the ditch and not get up.