The Distracted Driver

Still from "the Distracted Driver", 1980

Chris Meigh-Andrews’ Distracted Driver is, compared to Orange Free State, a simple, meditative piece. The familiar screeches of Bernard Herrmann’s score for the shower scene from Psycho are matched to grainy, blurred footage shot through the windscreen of a moving car. As the music fades, the car’s passenger embarks on a lengthy retelling of the film’s plot, stumbling over the details. Bored Driver might have been a better title. The motorist, who occasionally interrupts, sounds decidedly nonplussed, replying, when finally asked if he has seen Hitchcock’s best movie, with a curt  “No”. On screen, Meigh-Andrews uses rudimentary processing effects to colour the over-saturated image, shifting from blue to purple to red, with street lamps, the driver’s hands on the wheel and the occasional pedestrian picked out in glimmering highlights. The result is a piece of anti-Hitchcock anti-cinema: instead of being caught up in the action, manipulated by the director, and distracted by a MacGuffin, the viewer shares in the subjective experience of the poor, bored driver, the shifting colours hinting at a bid to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Jack Mottram, Video Art from the 70s and 80s, The Glasgow Herald, Friday, 10th October, 2008.