From a fixed camera inside a suburban home we see a foreground shot of a couch, and through the window, a suburban driveway, at the end of which sits a road, and beyond that, the image of a car garage. Over the next 24 minutes we experience a condensed 18 hours of activity in the house, from late afternoon, through the night and next morning. Mostly this is experienced aurally, with only distant or fleeting images of people onscreen.
The film begins with a man walking up the driveway towards the house. On the soundtrack an American spiritualist speaks to a phone-in caller. Cars occasionally pass at the end of the driveway. Off-camera we hear the sound of someone moving inside the house. Time passes in a series of cuts, registering the shift from daylight to evening. Night falls and the driveway is suddenly illuminated by lights of an approaching car. Dinner party guests arrive, talking excitedly. They leave, and a man is heard on a phone call discussing Māori cultural issues.
Driveway was conceived partly as a rumination on Michael Snow’s classic experimental film Wavelength (1967) and other Canadian experimental landscape films.
Martin Rumsby: “The Driveway acts like a long lens, the movement is from straightforward documentary to abstraction then back again - a movement through art thinking from realism to abstraction and then beyond… there are a couple of other things too - an element of theatricality as suggested by the curtains (as if curtains for a stage or sceen) and the leather seat, as if cinema seating. But instead of looking at the event of cinematic interest the couch is placed to look away from the view and what we are looking at. There could be an element of social criticism here - that people do not look at and engage the world directly. Instead, they are looking inward, away from the world, maybe they are watching TV or even the filming event.”