Unmade Beds

Director: Alexis Dos Santos
Screenwriters: Alexis Dos Santos

Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival


With his startlingly visceral and original second feature, Unmade Beds, Alexis Dos Santos manifests an exuberant London where unbridled longing and zeal plunge nubile expats into lusty adventures and momentous encounters.

When wide-eyed Spaniard Axl comes to London on a quest for the father who abandoned him, he lands in the middle of a creative hotbed—an underground polyglot squat filled with colorful free spirits. Among them is Vera, a beautiful Belgian girl recently dumped by her boyfriend, who seeks to restore her faith in romantic destiny after meeting a charismatic stranger. As Axl and Vera separately pursue these bittersweet and elusive connections, they circle each other's orbits—their fates almost inevitably intertwined.

Alongside this lush story of youthful awakening, Dos Santos conjures a rhythmic stream-of-consciousness mood collage. Axl and Vera’s world vibrates with visual and sonic energy. The palate of yellows, reds, and greens emits benevolent warmth as if to soften the blow of their tender aches. Surprising sound scapes and an effusive score aptly express the characters’ mercurial interior states. Meanwhile slapstick moments and musical performances by fresh unknowns puncture the melancholy, buoying the film into irreverent whimsy. They may be slightly crumpled works in progress—like the unmade beds where they slumber—but Axl, Vera, and their friends are as vital as a crisp new day.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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