Samuel McIntosh’s Interstate is a case of creative use of constraints. Made on a low budget, the visual style of the film is left of conventional that, combined with its sound, evokes a dreamlike state. As its protagonist contemplates the nature of life vis-à-vis work, the plot progresses with a comedic slant as if to occasionally break him out of his reverie. The overall effect is peculiarly enjoyable.
It is the middle of the night. Louie (Adam Jones) is in a car with his father as he muses over his aimlessness and his new career awaiting him: driving. Something stable but with enough scope to think. As they drive out to the middle of nowhere in near-pitch darkness, Kurt (Joseph Lopez) stops to defecate. If sitting in a moving car was good for introspection, Louie now gains a window of still time in which his mind can wander further while still having a tether to physical reality and time.
The film varyingly situates itself in Louie’s psyche, physical space, location, and in some strange way, a specific culture. Though the dark of the night isolates the characters and removes identifiable markers of space, when Louie stares into the distance and remarks about the interstate’s proximity, space and location assert their conceptual presence (and become material later on). As the fragmentary narrative blends together reality with mental images, it evokes an era that is not quite contemporary and is yet close enough to not feel totally alien.
When it all comes to a grounding halt, the film shifts to show things from Curt’s perspective, thus becoming partially less pensive and more centred on actions. The beauty of it is that even then, the notion of a time out of joint does not evaporate. It is still floating in a time and space that is not here. Interstate is a breath of fresh air for being the kind of film that has not been made in a while. The piano and sax score simply intensify the longing for whatever is long out of reach in the past.
Watch Interstate Short Film
Interstate: Time Floating Out of Joint on the Edge of Nowhere