Written and directed by Argentinean filmmaker Alexis Dos Santos, Unmade Beds unfolds against the backdrop of the East End of London’s modern day bohemian scene. It’s a world of rent-free accommodation in generously equipped warehouse squats, regular parties and gigs, and plentiful opportunities for sexual experimentation and creative expression. Dos Santos interweaves the elliptical stories of two twenty-ish European arrivals to this universe, whose paths eventually cross. There’s the diminutive, tousle-haired Spaniard Axel (Fernando Tielve), who’s trying to track down his long-lost English father. And there’s the brunette Belgian Vera (Déborah François), a bookseller nursing a broken heart, who is embarking on tentative relationship with a Danish expat (Michiel Huisman) whose name she refuses to learn.
This could have been a recipe for self-indulgence, but Dos Santos succeeds in crafting a surprisingly tender film, which channels the romantic spirit and formal playfulness of Wong Kar Wai and the French New Wave. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Jacob Ihre on HD video and Super 8 mm, Unmade Beds artfully deploys images, editing and voiceovers to convey the confusions and yearnings of its characters, as they struggle to connect. Music too is crucial in this process and the contributions of the likes of The Tindersticks, Black Moustache and Good Shoes make for one of 2009’s finest soundtracks.
n Cameo, Edinburgh and selected release from Fri 11 Dec. See profile.