There were two possible plans. It was either wake up at a silly hour and go to the box office to try to snap up some tickets, or sleep till a normal hour and just try our luck. We chose option B, and I’m glad.
After a leisurely breakfast, Lillian and I sprinted to the Broadway cinemas right before Unmade Beds was starting, and there was a man standing outside looking to give away two tickets. Before he would give them to us, he wanted to know if we’d ever been to Sundance. I knew he didn’t want to hear about how I had been before so I said, “This is Lillian’s first.” Which is true. “If this is her first Sundance, then take these with my complements.” We thanked him while sprinting in to get seats.
The director of Unmade Beds, Alexis Dos Santos, came out to introduce the film. He looked like he hadn’t slept much the night before. His hair was matted to one side and he was wearing something like a backback, but which may have just been a coat and bedroll jury-rigged to his shoulders. In many more words, he said he had fun making the film and hoped we’d have fun watching it.
Before his film showed, they played a Kiwi short called “This Is Her”. It was a finely-executed concept about a woman scorned, but told through time-shifting narrated jumps with a poetic repetition of “This is…” I can’t say I totally support the moral of the tale, which seems to endorse childish revenge (and surprised me after a balanced and even sympathetic portrayal of the antagonist).
* * *
Unmade Beds is a lyrical film that tells two parallel stories. The first is about Axl, a young Spaniard who has come to London to find his British father. The second is about Vera, a young Belgian who is afraid to have a full relationship with a boy since her last one soured. They both live in the same Bohemian squat, but barely know of each other.
Part French New Wave, part Terrence Malick, Unmade Beds was a joy to watch. It throbs with a terrific musical soundtrack that is partly diegetic to the underground rock scene which the characters inhabit. The young performers are all wonderful, especially Fernando Tielve, as the perplexed Axl.
* * *
I wish we could’ve stuck around for the Q&A, but we had to rush to get in line for The Only Good Indian. The show was sold out and people were begging for tickets. Even the Sundance volunteers seemed impressed by the crowd. I could see screenwriter/producer Tom Carmody and director Kevin Willmott smiling nervously off to the side.
I won’t attempt to review the film, since I’m far too prejudiced. But I will say that it got a more enthusiastic audience response than any I’ve seen at the festival. It seemed, in particular, to really touch to the Native Americans in the audience who had been through boarding schools.
Director Kevin Willmott and star Wes Studi did the Q&A. I can’t remember all of their entertaining answers, but there was one moment where a child in the audience asked if the blood was real. Willmott’s response: “In independent films, the blood is always real.”
Gotta rush this morning. We’re doing plan A this time.