Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SFIFF52 Unmade Beds

Director Alexis Dos Santos with actors Déborah François and Fernando Tielve

It's the 13th day of the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival and my brain is exploding with images and opinions. I've consumed 26 screenings since opening night and zipped through another dozen screeners at home, all while working two jobs. Unfortunately, that's left me zero time to write, but I wanted to at least post something on the festival's closing night film – Alexis Dos Santos' extraordinary Unmade Beds. The SF Film Society was kind enough to press screen it and I can attest that they're saving one of the best films for last.

Unmade Beds is London-based Argentine director Dos Santos' second feature. His first film Glue, screened here at Frameline in 2007, was a sweet, edgy look at the lives of three teens living in a Patagonian backwater. For Unmade Beds, the director has shifted his setting to London and increased the age of his characters – but in terms of theme and tone, much remains the same. This is another melancholic, frequently hilarious film about young people struggling to establish identity, told with an energy and passion that befits the filmmaker's own vernal age. Its two main characters are Axl (Fernando Tielve), a Spaniard in search of his unknown British father, and Vera (Déborah François), a Frenchwoman on the run from lost love. Their link is a London squat that houses artists and musicians, and a music club where their alcohol-fueled nights frequently converge. Like Glue, the film features great music, and perhaps you'll exit the theater like I did, singing along to Black Moustache's Hot Monkey, Hot Ass. A "Hold Review" restriction prevents me from saying more (it's being distributed by IFC Films later this year). I'll just add that if you're no longer young, impassioned and foolish, Unmade Beds will make you wistful for the days when you were.

Unmade Beds screens at the Castro Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. Both director Dos Santos and actor Fernando Tielve are expected to attend. Following the film, the festival's Closing Night party takes place at the SOMA nightclub Mezzanine. There isn't an official trailer for the film yet (or a poster for that matter), but there is this teaser which doesn't quite do the film justice:

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