Director: Gregg Araki
Screenwriters: Gregg Araki

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


From the twisted, visionary mind of Gregg Araki comes Nowhere, his fourth feature film in five years to premiere at Sundance. Since 1992, when The Living End was in dramatic competition at the Festival, Araki has assembled a remarkable string of films, establishing himself as one of the stalwarts of the American independent cinema. Combining over-the-top visuals, wild music, and rapid fire dialogue into cautionary tales of youthful angst and alienation which both horrify and dazzle, he has created a unique style which others have attempted but failed to imitate. Amazingly the scope and intensity of his films have steadily increased, and now culminate in Nowhere, the grand finale of his self-titled “Teen Apocalypse Trilogy.”

Like a surreal, supersaturated “Beverly Hills 90210” episode on acid, Nowhere follows an interwoven network of libidinous alterna-teens as they experience teenage doubt, insecurity, and alien abduction. The weblike narrative charts the course of one day in the tragically comic life of Dark Smith (James Duval), a striking, alienated eighteen-year-old alternately obsessed with the imminent End of the World and finding his one true and only love. The object of his affection, Mel (Rachel True), cares for him deeply but can’t commit to any one person or even gender, splitting her time between Dark and her trendy, sarcastic girlfriend Lucifer (Kathleen Robertson). Dark becomes infatuated with angelic Montgomery (Nathan Bexton), who unfortunately gets abducted by space aliens. Surrounding these four characters is a terrific collection of memorable faces in unsuspecting roles.

Nowhere is more than a stylized foray into the nightmare world of adolescent highs and lows. It is also an examination of the direction where a generation is heading. Where The Doom Generation seemed to be a wake-up call, this film is more of a reflexive inquiry into the destiny of the seemingly apathetic youth who place more emphasis on style than substance. An ensemble piece featuring a cast that mixes well-known faces—Christina Applegate, Debi Mazar, John Ritter, Beverly D’Angelo, Shannen Doherty, and Tracy Lords—with up-and-comers, Nowhere is a sexy and wild ride, so buckle up, remain seated, and enjoy the ultimate fast trip to oblivion.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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