Two Cars, One Night



Two Cars, One Night

directed by Taika Waititi
Short film

View a still from the film

It is night-time. Two young boys are seated in the front of a car, parked outside of a rural pub. They seem at ease with the situation; no doubt it has all happened many times before. One reads a book, perhaps brought along in the knowledge that it would be a lengthy wait. Shimmering music and old-fashioned monochrome give the scene a sense of self-conscious seriousness, a soundtrack and lens against which the children can play at being grown-ups, trialling a maturity beyond their years.

For most of the film, we watch from close by, the camera zooming in slowly to rest by the protagonists’ faces. Only the opening and closing shots provide us with a wider view. The vehicle stays stationary; we observe time through the fast-motion arrivals and departures of other pub-goers. They flash past, blinking headlights, as the boys glare into the darkness outside their windows. Adult lives may be accelerated by alcohol and company, but for these kids the evenings are an unwelcome brake.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

A boy rests in the passenger seat of a parked car, nose in a book. His fidgety brother takes a place alongside him, mimicking the revving of an engine as he pretends to drive. A girl waits patiently in another vehicle, a few spaces down. After a failed attempt to hide himself from view, the wannabe motorist catches her attention the only way he knows how: with yelled insults and lewd hand gestures. She turns back to face the windshield, seemingly ignoring his raised middle finger, before calling for his attention and offering one of her own.

Two Cars, One Night is a homage to fleeting meetings, those episodes that punctuate the passing of time, some forgotten, some never lost. Smokers congregate and disband, leaving a smouldering spiderweb etched into the screen. The louder brother watches a ‘sweet’ ride with admiration, nodding in respect to the tattoo-faced driver. The girl offers the boy a diamond ring, perhaps to slide onto the finger next to the one that first bonded them. Then her parents arrive and she departs, leaving him standing in the car park with nothing but a hopeful murmur: ‘Probably see you later.’

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

You can watch Two Cars, One Night here, and see a TEDx Talk on 'The Art of Creativity' by Taika Waititi here.

Question of the day

Do some art forms capture fleeting moments better than others?
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I think music does in pop culture, in that it reflects the current consciousness of humans in three minutes. Music changes quickly.

– Deradoorian, musician (via The Brief →)

I think poetry has fleeting moments down. It luxuriates in them. In poetry, the fleeting moment becomes expansive.

– Emma McKinlay, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)

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