Archives / 2000 Sundance Film Festival

A Sign From God

Director: Greg Watkins

Screenwriters: Greg Watkins

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Delectably deadpan, A Sign from God opens with its protagonist in full lotus position chanting a Woody Allen–worthy mantra: “I don’t hate my mother for the reasons I think. I’m not jealous of Todd Haynes for the reasons I think.” Evoking the all-too-familiar genre of the trials and tribulations of the independent filmmaker, Greg Watkins achieves the miraculous: a film so fresh, so delightful, so richly self-ironic that it becomes a joy to behold.
Right from the outset, it seems our protagonists’ stars are aligned for a particularly bad day.

Struggling artists living hand to mouth in San Francisco’s new bohemia, Caveh, the fatalist, and Laura, the pragmatist, have very different approaches to life. Faced with professional failure, imminent eviction, and the towing of his in-law’s car, Caveh remains determined to derive meaning from every disaster (“if we are centered, our income will come to us”). But Laura, possibly pregnant, is sick of his philosophizing and begins to question their future.

Through a hilarious series of misadventures (including Caveh’s disastrous pitch meeting—“It’s kind of Romeo and Juliet, but the boy has cerebral palsy and the girl is retarded”), the lovers begin to drift apart.
Joining forces again with Caveh Zahedi, his iconoclastic star and collab-orator, Watkins revives the same breezy, improvisational style and self- consciousness of his earlier A Little Stiff (Sundance ‘91). With its wry sarcasm and cheery score (featuring the fabulous Jonathan Richman), shades of Hal Hartley flutter betwixt and between the points of the film’s own marvelous individuality.


— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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