Rolling on the Floor Laughing

A 30 minute short film to be shot in fulfillment of the MFA requirements at Columbia University, ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING is the story of a love-triangle between a middle-aged widow, a new lover in from out of town, and the woman's grown sons with whom she shares a candid, sometimes unsettling intimacy. The story takes place over the course of a birthday weekend, the night before and the day of a party.

It's in anticipation of these competing relationships (Mother and Lover, Mother and Sons) occupying the same physical space, colliding, revealing themselves publically that will provide the structural progression of the movie, but it's really a film about the body, about loyalty, about coveting that which you may soon lose. A mother, thrilled by the prospect of new sexual attention after the death of her husband, is forced to test this new identity within sight of her boys. Her boys who are, in turn, confronted with the slippery curiosity produced by the dawning realization that their mother is a woman and, when caught by desire, capable of pursuing sex with the gleeful abandon of adolescence.

The visual approach to the film will be mostly formal and restrained: wide, roaming sequence shots; long takes; frames crammed with people. It will refer to the films of Maurice Pialat, Marcel Pagnol, Louis Malle, and Jean Renoir.

The hope is to create an environment that is tender and funny before it is threatening and dangerous--the jovial feeling of homecoming; a packed house spilling into a back garden. I want the movie to portray a very particular, nearly barbaric feeling of loyalty in the wake of grief.

ROFL is a necessary and provocative film, a way of capturing personal experience and distilling it to its core drama. I'm excited by its potential.

-Russell Harbaugh
August, 2010

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