USA / 2008 / English / Color / Video / 68 min
Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Producer: Susan Mogul
Original Music, Sound Design and Mix: Wayne Peet
World Sales: J.M.T. Films
At the age of 50, director Susan Mogul felt the need to retrace her steps, to interview the men she has been involved with during her life. Employing a unique style in which she films the men from the passenger seat of vehicles, the documentary interweaves clips from her own work, illuminating the life of a woman who has lived through a tumultuous era in the United States. Spiced with characteristically self-effacing Jewish humor, the movie is made in an intellectual and moreover intelligent manner, depicting the life of a woman who truly follows her own path.
[Director’s Statement] In 1973, when I was 23, I moved to Los Angeles from the east coast to be part of the feminist art movement. Ever since, my work has confronted the way a woman’s life is supposed to “look” and be lived—with humor, satire, and sometimes with pathos. And although it was never my original intention, my body of work turned into the autobiography of a never-married woman. It is also the story of a woman with a camera.
A few years before I moved to Los Angeles I was in a car accident. My first love was killed in the accident and the accident haunted my life.
Driving Men is a road movie, and it opens with the car accident. The film is a culmination of the motivations, intentions, and aspirations of my previous works. It’s about recording one’s life. It’s about the desire to connect. It’s about being Jewish. It’s about relationships with men. It’s about being a never-married woman. It’s about home and family. It’s about falling in love. And, it’s about my relationship with my Dad.
Over the last 35 years I have recorded, edited, and ultimately crafted my own life—making avant-garde videos, photographs, performances, video diaries, and feature-length films. I sift through the past and piece it together with the present. I transform the raw material of my life to make sense of my life. I reprocess reality in order and create my own reality.
Driving Men is not quite documentary, not really avant-garde, yet not mainstream either. My work, like my life, falls into a space in between—fitting in and not fitting in. I will be 60-years old on August 15, 2009. And there are times when I try to figure out where I fit in and other times I celebrate the fact that I don’t fit in at all.
Born in 1949 in New York City, Mogul has lived in Los Angeles for the last 36 years. She mixes and blurs genres—autobiography, documentary, and ethnography—to create dramatic and poetic narratives out of the everyday. Turning her barbed wit both inwards and outwards, she reflects on women’s private and public lives. Having been involved with video since the early 1970s, she is a pioneer of the medium. Initially producing an important series of humorous and staunchly feminist performance videos in the 1970s, her practice quickly expanded to more complicated and experimental forms of narrative that include feature-length work.
A Guggenheim fellowship recipient, Mogul’s work has screened at film festivals, in museums, art galleries, and on public television, in the US and internationally. She has received commissions and fellowships from the Independent Television Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Getty Trust. Her video art was featured in the Getty Museum’s historic California Video exhibition, at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her first retrospective was presented in 2009 at Visions du Réel–Nyon International Film Festival. In November 2009 she will have a solo show of her photo collages at Jancar, an art gallery in Los Angeles.