Image from the motion picture Sleepwalk Image from the motion picture Sleepwalk

On the Bowery: Lost and Found Films of Sara Driver - Sleepwalk - 35MM

Drama, Fantasy | 1986 | 78MIN


Sara Driver


Suzanne Fletcher
Ann Magnuson
Dexter Lee
Tony Todd

It’s the year of the dog in Sleepwalk, and Nicole (Fletcher), a print shop worker, takes a job from a peculiar man named Dr. Goo translating an ancient Chinese script. As she does, her life emulates the story, and wackiness unfolds. Her roommate’s hair falls out, and she is visited by a woman dressed in red named Echo who warns her of what’s coming. Elements of fantasy and magic realism drive the story, but Sleepwalk transcends genre. Driver’s visuals drive the plot, colors and framing revealing far more than actions. Fletcher is an ideal vessel; her monosyllabic voice and under-reaction to the increasingly strange circumstances keep the film in balance. Perhaps Driver’s characters appear one-dimensional, but with intention, as they function as paradigms to synthesize the environments she shapes. A scene in the printing shop shifts into an experimental jazz piece, as the office’s many apparatui click into rhythm, and a fresh faced Steve Buschemi squints at negatives over a flickering light table. A saturated gaggle of multicolored rotary phones ring in unison while vintage computers delight. Nicole rides the elevator down and the doors open on every floor, each mise-en-scene odder than the last. As she descends further she meditates on the sky out of the top of the rusty freight elevator, looking up hundreds of feet as the angles of the building connect in the distance and a smudge sunlight curls into the corner of the frame. The unity of enchanting scenarios and stunning cinematography in Sleepwalk result in an offbeat, original work. – Mary Hanlon

Q&A with Sara Driver 2/4.

Portrait of filmmaker Sara Driver

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Sleepwalk Q&A with Sara Driver

Filmmaker Sara Driver joins us at the Roxy Cinema for a post-film-discussion concerning her 1986 feature, Sleepwalk.

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