NYFF Spotlight: You Are Not I
Posted by Saylee Bhatte on 9.29.2011
Why you should see it:
After a warehouse fire destroyed the film’s negative, Sara Driver’s You Are Not I was believed to be a lost gem. That is until a print was discovered among the belongings of the avant-garde writer Paul Bowles, on whose short story the film was based. With stirring cinematography by Jim Jarmusch and a touching performance by the protagonist Suzanne Fletcher, this film traces the journey of a woman who breaks out of an asylum only to be taken to her unwelcoming sister’s home. In its alternating display of chaos and calmness, this film compels us to question our notion of insanity.
You Are Not I premiered at the Public Theatre in New York City in 1981 and played widely on the international film festival circuit in the early 1980’s. Twenty years later, after its rediscovery and digital restoration, the film has once again generated immense interest after screening at the 2011 Edinburgh Film Festival and the 2010 Reykjavík International Film Festival.
About the director:
Sara Driver is a New York based independent filmmaker whose films Sleepwalk (1986) and When Pigs Fly (1993), have featured at film festivals including Cannes and Locarno.
What the critics said:
You Are Not I was declared to be one of the best films of the 1980’s in the decade’s Cahiers du Cinéma critics’ survey.
What the NYFF programmers say:
"You Are Not I is an American independent film from 1981 directed by Sara Driver, the partner of Jim Jarmusch. Based on a short story by Paul Bowles, it was a film believed to be lost for many years because the negative had been destroyed in a leaking warehouse. But within the last few years, a print of the film was discovered among the possessions of Bowles and, because of that, the film (which was shot by Jarmusch) has been restored. This will be the premier of this restoration." —Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director