Unspooled Shakily Documents Rich Film Students


Had Bemoana, NYU film student Maurice Singer’s 2003 thesis project (a bloody reimagining of “Little Red Riding Hood” as a domestic-abuse psychodrama) ever been released, Keir Moreano’s behind-the-scenes chronicle of the troubled Vermont-woods shoot would’ve been a DVD bonus feature at best. With Unspooled, Moreano (who served as Bemoana’s special-effects makeup artist) tries to inflate his 12-day production diary—including hideously shot, retrospective interviews with the cast and crew—into an unmaking-of epic in the vein of Lost in La Mancha. It was easy to feel for Terry Gilliam, with all his unfinished Don Quixote film’s biblical floods and hospitalized actors, but the biggest issues facing the inexperienced college kids here are clogged toilets, sleep deprivation, not having a coffee grinder for their whole beans, possible (but not actual) electrocution, and an underprepared director whose father funded the $50,000 feature and allowed him to burn down the family’s guest cabin. What could’ve been a poignantly humbling portrait of passionate young hopefuls confronting the harsh, masochistic realities of filmmaking is instead a whiny, woe-is-us postmortem. How did those poor, privileged kids ever pull through?

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 23, 2008

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