|SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR Dir: Ross Bevan NZ, 2005 DVD, 78 mins It's been three years since All About Reinalda, the last guerilla-budget local feature to play at Out Takes, arrived with a storm of publicity. By contrast, Ross Bevan's Sleeping On The Floor has slipped in under the radar, but it didn't stop a healthy number of Auckland's lesbian community (and curious men) turning out at the world premiere of this story for the girls, filling up most of a sizeable inner-city cinema. The film tracks the summer love affair of two twenty-something women in Wellington in a series of episodes, with dialogue that is clearly improvised. There's a point-and-shoot feel to many of the scenes which play out in long takes (some a little too long), broken up only when – you get the feeling – Bevan wanted to remove a bit that didn't quite work. While the improvising helps to create realism, it is sometimes at the expense of story cohesion, and some plot points are a little unclear. The performers engage throughout though, which is the main thing. The blossoming of the girls' relationship is played out well in a series of voyeuristic and uncomfortable moments as we wait to see who will make the first move. Judging from the wincing, giggles and embarrassed whispers from the schools of lesbians surrounding me in the theatre, it's clear these scenes struck a chord. The supporting players are also good. There's a wonderfully natural landlord from heaven, and an equally wonderfully odious as sleazy middle-aged boyfriend from hell. The observational and sometimes intrusive style of the film precludes the audience from always identifying with the characters, but Sleeping On The Floor is a slice of life, and the distancing actually works in the story's favour, particularly in the grittier moments when relationships are hitting boiling point and you're just so glad it isn't yours. Most of the row behind me didn't make it all the way through, unfortunately, but just between you and me – they looked like the sort of people that would be more comfortable at the Berkeley in Mission Bay with a glass of Chardonnay. Sleeping On The Floor is an entertaining watch for those not afraid of going to see films with micro-budgets, and a chance to see some talent from outside the small circle of Kiwi performers that get endlessly recycled on the small screen.
Preceded by: BALL GAME! Dir: Marc Checkley NZ, 2004 DVD, 3 mins This camp wee short illustrates the modern danger of schoolgirls who make assumptions about who the boys really want to take to the ball. If only it was this simple when I was at school... Chris Banks - 30th May 2005