Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

The Young Unknowns

Dir/Scr/Prod: Catherine Jelski; Prod: Eric M. Klein, Kimberly Shane O'Hara; Co-Prod: Dan Shaner, Michael Testa; DP/Ed: Gabor Szitanyi; Music: Hypnogaja; Cast: Devon Gummersall, Arly Jover, Leslie Bibb, Eion Bailey, Dale Godboldo.

35mm, 86 min., 1999 (WP)

The twentysomethings in The Young Unknowns navigate life with such aimless delusions that they may be the new lost generation. At a house in the Hollywood Hills, a quartet of characters argue, drink, snort, and swallow their way through a long day's journey into morning, and it's not a pretty sight. As unlikable and pathetic as the clueless wannabes in The Young Unknowns are, you nevertheless feel something for them -- they're a cultural byproduct of Southern California. The focal character Charlie, a self-professed asshole and misogynist, wants to direct films, but it's clear that his aspirations are not so much dreams as they are beliefs that he's owed something by the world. As a hapless model with a broken nose and a penchant for prescription drugs, Bibb is a standout in a convincing cast. Director-screenwriter Jelski has a good sense of psychodrama, but too often the film veers wildly in different directions and doesn't fully realize the storyline's intensity. While the sum of its parts are hardly less than zero, The Young Unknowns just misses packing a wallop.

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