Unmade Beds

When I saw Unmade Beds at the 2009 San Francisco International Film Festival, I was under the impression that it would eventually receive a theatrical release. I therefore wrote, and held, this review.

The release never materialized, but the movie is available on Netflix, so I’m posting the review, anyway.

 A- Youth drama

  • Written and directed by Alexis Dos Santos

People slide in and out of each others’ lives in this quirky drama of London youth, and yet the two propagandists barely make contact with one another.

Axl (Fernando Tielve) has come to London to find the father who deserted him as a child. He makes friends, sleeps around, and drinks so heavily at night that he often wakes up not knowing where he is or how he got there. Vera (Déborah François), freshly heart-broken, enters into an anonymous romance–neither names nor phone numbers are to be exchanged. But love has a way of messing up these plans.

The two end up living in the same abandoned warehouse, which other squatters have turned almost into a community. Yet their paths never seem to cross.unmadebeds

Set against a background of punk clubs and binge drinking, Unmade Beds looks affectionately at these two young souls and the other people in their lives. Foremost among these is Mike (Iddo Goldberg), who appears to be if not the leader of the squat than certainly the first among equals. Although not much older than Axl , he comes off as almost a father figure, although he does things with Axl that no father would do.

Any film about youth is going to be in part about music, and writer/director Alexis Dos Santos makes good use of the throbbing punk rock of the clubs that the characters frequent.

The handheld and occasionally out-of-focus camerawork gets tiresome at times, but I liked the way the camera stayed close and intimate with the characters.

Unmade Beds looks warmly at that point in life when restrictions seem irrelevant and anything seems possible. Axl and Vera still have a lot to learn about life, but they’re generally enjoying the process.