UNDERGROUND USA: INDIE CINEMA OF THE 80s - Two Films by Sara Driver (Sleepwalk & You Are Not I)

With Suzanne Fletcher in person!

“Showcasing a free-form approach to narrative that you’ll wish wasn’t all but extinct in American independent cinema, Sara Driver’s long-unavailable (and too small) body of work constitutes a minor revelation.” —Benjamin Mercer

A lyrical blend of dream and reality, Sara Driver’s debut film—a New York-set fairy tale rife with influences ranging from the occult and Surrealism to chiaroscuro—is emblematic of the minor, uncanny output of the underground 80s scene, ripe for celebration. Shot by longtime partner Jim Jarmusch (Driver also produced Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise), Sleepwalk exudes the photographic qualities for which Jarmusch is known, but with a sensibility steeped even further in fantasy.

Dir. Sara Driver, 1986, 78 min.

You Are Not I
Driver debuted right out of NYU with this brilliant featurette—predictive of a small but superlative body of work—based on Paul Bowles’s story of the same name. Hailed by the Cahiers du Cinema as one of the best films of the 80s, this dark and expressionist gem of early No Wave cinema was thought lost until a print was fortuitously discovered among Bowles’s belongings. Featuring photographer Nan Goldin and author Luc Sante, and shot by Jim Jarmusch, You Are Not I was shot in a mere six days on a $12,000 budget, but with Driver’s talent for prioritizing mood and texture, and dream over narrative logic, its power is undeniable—and its 2013 restoration was a major rediscovery for cinephiles.

Dir. Sara Driver, 1981, 50 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!