Synopsis: Director Nina Bader wants to shoot a film about love and sex and invites her actor-friends Hans and Marie for screen tests for a couple of days. For Nina love is not necessarily a matter of emotion – she is rather looking for an authentic depiction of sex. The intimate collaboration turns into experiments with film, love and bodies and finally has an impact on the private relationships between the three of them. It seems that the boundaries between acting and reality begin to disappear.
Um… what was the point of ‘Bedways’, exactly? I wonder if the filmmakers themselves know. After all, it’s a short feature film (clocking in at barely 75 minutes, including the credits ), much of it is spent with the lead in silent reflection, no clear direction is developed at any point, nor are there any conclusions to be drawn from it.
Throughout the film, the main character is wondering how to go about shooting her film. She is racking her brains over what she wants it to be, developing it on the fly with the actors, and trying to put together not only a script but a production budget. It almost feels like art imitating life, in that the film seems to suffer from similar problems.
All she knows is that she wants the two leads to have sex together. She wants to see what develops from it, to try to put her finger on something so elusive that she can barely express it herself – which, thus, leaves the audience pretty much baffled by her intentions (not unlike films such as ‘9 Songs‘, where the central part seems to be the sex, even though it claims to be something else).
And, yes, the sex here is explicit. There is no way that the actors were not engaging ins sexual activities on screen. Thankfully, it doesn’t cross the line into porn in that there’s not much of it and what little there is is relatively subdued – for a film that doesn’t hide anything, I mean. In other words, it could easily offend those who can’t bear watching others being sexual.
And it’s not especially titillating, either – so that wasn’t the point of the film, I imagine. Although there was one scene when our fledgling director masturbates to the camera in a darkened room, and I thought it was quite something. Not dramatic, not especially explicit. Just sexy. At least, it was to me (to each’s own – others might prefer the couple, but I don’t).
There’s really not much to say about ‘Bedways’, given that it’s too ambiguous to know if it truly succeeded at what it was attempting to achieve. Even the sequences between the actors in character and out of character were difficult to separate; it was as though the lines were purposely blurred. Either that, or the director was too inept to make any sense of it. Could happen.
I found the music intriguing, in that it was unconventional for the genre, being full of industrial, post-punk or other alternative acts. And the film did create a hazy, dream-like vibe that I quite appreciated. This may be why I can’t give it a failing mark – because I kind of enjoyed it despite its pointlessness. However, some people would be better off staying out of ‘Bedways’.
Nota bene: to those who are interested in seeing this or who were planning to pick it up, I would advise steering clear of Strand Releasing’s version of the DVD – the subtitles were bad enough that some things may have been lost in translation.