Film Review from Japan: Unmade Beds

18 Mar

As a lover of many things Japanese, and with a deep respect for their culture, it is both sad and terrifying to see what they’re going through at the moment. AFR’s thoughts are with them, and we hope they pull through this with the resilience they are famous for. This seemed like a good time as any to publish a review by one of Gram Morris’s students from his teaching days in Japan. Aya Nator’s take on the film makes a nice counterpoint to the panning Jemila gave it a while back.

It was at my friend’s 5th birthday party held at the local McDonalds; we sat with the plastic clownish loner on the bench while smiling at the queer black thingy-ma-jig. Discharging a loud snap, out rolled a piece of card and there appeared a photo in front of our very eyes. Since then, I’ve had an extraordinary fascination for polaroid cameras.

Vera is the female protagonist is a French artist who comes to London after ending a relationship in distress. In her anonymity she relies on the polaroids she takes on her brown SX-70 to snapshot stills of her life. Despite her determination to lead a solitary existence, when she meets the mysterious X-Ray man (who claims to have seen her before at the airport) she finds herself falling into the endless pit of love yet again.

Then there is the male protagonist Axl who discovers “the underground art-rock world of sprawling East London” after flying from Spain with very little money and no place to stay. By day he stalks his said-to-be father and at night loses himself in underground music and alcohol. He lives in a squat accommodated by arty weirdos that come and go, not that it really seems to bother him.

Polaroids, London and indie rock; all seem like grand symbols of modern hipsterism. Technically, they are, and thus this film could be about two hipsters who seek hip at a little club in Hipsterville. Fortunately Vera nor Axl are neither posh nor pretentious, but instead depict the darker and desolate side of self searching. However that still doesn’t mean we don’t get decent music, quirky haircuts and cuddly animal suits.

One could interpret this film as a cleaner version of Trainspotting, but I thought that director Alexis Dos Santos could have also been influenced by The Science Of Sleep. It resembles a similar setting with the Spain-France connection and the way it was shot reminded me of Michel Gondry. Because of the delicate and melancholic nature of the film, words can not describe the unique essence that Unmade Beds has. I felt that the film was not just the usual indie flick but actually had a strong storyline and a really nice but unexpected ending that leaves you grinning and aww-ing at the TV screen.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Melbourne International Film Festival 2011: Program Launch « Australian Film Review - July 5, 2011

    […] nature of youth, such as in her spirited advocation of UNMADE BEDS a few years back (which we did and did not enjoy). We can probably expect a different direction from MIFF in the coming years, […]

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