Now Streaming in Austin: A Room Full of Nothing
End-of-the-world romance foresaw Austin today
By Richard Whittaker,
3:30PM, Wed. Apr. 22, 2020
Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining.
Everyone jokes that their pandemic lockdown experience would make for a great science fiction movie. A Room Full of Nothing proves that point.
The Austin Film Festival 2019 title (which arrived on VOD this week) sees a deserted Austin – and just imagine how hard that was to shoot even two months ago. Phyllis (Ivy Meehan) and Barry (Duncan Coe, who also directed with Elena Weinberg) are two people trapped in Austin's creative class, and going nowhere. He's an actor who can't get a good review, she's an artist who should avoid her own gallery shows. Then, suddenly, everyone else disappears. Everyone. The streets are deserted, and it's just Phyllis and Barry, hanging onto each other.
The film was the directors' farewell to Austin just before they moved to Los Angeles (read Jenny Nulf's interview with Coe and Weinberg for more on that), but it's not hard to see their affection for the city where they cut their artistic teeth. It's also a poignant depiction of a couple who needed each other before their world falls apart, and now each other is all they have. In the time of the coronavirus lockdown, its beautiful message of mutual support – wrapped in a post-apocalyptic drama, shot like a lo-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – feels like the most timely message right now.
A Room Full of Nothing