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Rules of the Road

1993

Script, cinematography, voiceover, and editing by
Su Friedrich

Produced by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation

16mm, color
31 minutes

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Rules of the Road tells the story of a love affair and its demise through one of the objects shared by the couple: an old beige station wagon with fake wood paneling.

A typical American family car for an atypical American family, it provides the women at first with all the familiar comforts. But when their relationship ends, the car becomes the property of one and the bane of the other's existence. Even long after their separation, this tangible reminder of their life together—and thousands of its imitators—continues to prowl the streets of the city, haunting the woman who no longer holds the keys either to the car or the other woman's heart.

Through spoken text, popular music and images from the streets of New York, Rules of the Road takes a somewhat whimsical, somewhat caustic look at how our dreams of freedom, pleasure, security, and family are so often symbolized by the automobile.

"... the light, almost whimsical tone of the film should not blind us to the part of it that is irreducibly personal. Station wagons are everywhere; everybody's got a sad love story. But only one filmmaker, to my knowledge, has Su Friedrich's eye....With Rules of the Road, she creates a film like a perfect short story."
—Stuart Klawans, THE NATION

Selected Film Festival Screenings and Awards:
KINO AWARD, SPECIAL COMMENDATION, Melbourne International Film Festival
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT,Cork International Film Festival
DIRECTOR'S CHOICE AWARD,Black Maria Film Festival
HONORABLE MENTION,Queer Film Festival, Oregon
New Directors/New Films, New York; Festival of World Cinema, Philadelphia; Automobility Film Festival, Zurich; Jerusalem Film Festival; Image/Nation Festival, Montreal; Cinemarosa Queer Film Series, Queens Museum, NY

 

 

 

 

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