Now Playing: Magic, Realism: The Films of Sara Driver at TIFF

Posted by Brandy Dean July 25, 2014 0 Comment 7067 views

Magic, Realism: The Films of Sara Driver is now playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The liner notes for DVD collection Driver X4: The Lost and Found Films of Sara Driver include an essay from author Luc Sante notes “Sara Driver’s Movies Are Doorways Into the Unknown.” True statement. Plus like all magical doorways that lead to a fantastic world, Sara Driver’s doorways are somewhat rare. Though she boasts an impressive list of credits including roles like actress and producer and theatrical work, her directorial credits are slim: two features, Sleepwalk (1986) and When Pigs Fly (1993), one short You Are Not I (1981), and a  short doc The Bowery, Spring – 1994. Mix in a couple of other random small bits and a whisper of television work, and that’s pretty much it.

This is both a shame and perfectly in keeping with the tone of Sara Driver’s work. Those doorways into the unknown are powerful because there are so few of them. But how to explain those films? Impossible. Driver’s films aren’t exactly “experimental.” They do not rely solely on visual poetry though they are visually poetic. Nor do they rely solely on contorted narrative structures, though you can find that as well. Rather, Driver’s films provoke a sort of fugue state in the viewer. Thematically sort of existential and paired with a slow, undulating rhythm – well, there’s Luc Sante’s point again: doorways into the unknown.

Sara Driver is often compared to Jim Jarmusch and David Lynch. These are fair comparisons – Jarmusch because of certain thematic preoccupations and sense of style (plus deep professional association) and Lynch because of a certain scalp tingling terror. While the comparisons are fair, they are limiting. The world of Sara Driver isn’t Lynchian; it’s Driverian. I can think of no other body of work that is directly comparable and that’s a rare thing (as rare as a magic door).

Fortunately, TIFF has invested in presenting the entirety of Sara Driver’s directorial work in Magic, Realism: The Films of Sara Driver. Playing now, you can catch screening of each of these works at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, including a screening of When Pigs Fly on Friday, July 25 with an introduction by the director herself.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Thursday, July 24, 2014

You Are Not I

You Are Not I

Recently rediscovered in Paul Bowles’ Tangiers apartment, the debut film by Sara Driver is an eerie, dreamlike psychodrama reminiscent of David Lynch’sEraserhead.

The Bowery – Spring, 1994

The Bowery - Spring, 1994

A deftly edited portrait of the infamous Lower East Side neighbourhood, tracing its history from one-time prominence to the prototypical Skid Row.

Friday, July 25, 2014

When Pigs Fly

When Pigs Fly

A jazz musician living in a small Irish coastal town (Alfred Molina) inadvertently becomes the landlord for a pair of friendly female phantoms (Marianne Faithfull and Rachel Bella) in Sara Driver’s playfully peculiar ghost story, featuring original music by The Clash’s Joe Strummer.



A vivid document of The Clash’s Joe Strummer composing and recording the musical soundtrack of Sara Driver’s When Pigs Fly in a studio in Rockfield, Wales.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


A part-time translator finds the Chinese fairy tales she is working on strangely manifesting themselves in her own life, in Sara Driver’s prize-winning first feature.

About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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