Sign up for our weekly newsletter
Green Light in the City

Unmade Beds

11 December 09 words: Jared Wilson
A film set in London, yet filmed almost entirely in Nottingham, including at The Maze, Seven and a squat in Sneinton
Unmade Beds - Inside the squat with Mike, Axl and Hannah
Unmade Beds - Inside the Sneinton squat with Mike, Axl and Hannah

Bit of a weird one this: it’s a film set entirely in London, yet filmed almost entirely in Nottingham, which at times makes you wonder why it had to be set in London anyway. It’s about a group of foreign kids adjusting to new lives in a squat in England and the specifics of the actual city aren’t really important to the plot.

However since there is a film coming out next year with the working title Nottingham, that has been filmed almost entirely in the US with a cast of Hollywood stars including Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, I suppose it’s only fair to suspend a bit of disbelief on this one.

The movie itself is pretty good. It’s directed by Argentinean Alexis Dos Santos and starts off by following around a young restless Spanish lad called Axl (played by Fernando Tielve, best known as the kid from 2001’s The Devils Backbone). Axl is searching for his long lost father whom he has traced back to England. He arrives and gets drunk a couple of times and eventually wakes up one morning in a friendly squat which dozens of other Europeans appear to have made their home.

He meets Mike (played by Iddo Goldberg, most recently seen in TV’s Billy Piper vehicle Diary of a Call Girl) and they get on immediately, soon becoming involved in threesomes together with girls they bring back to the squat. Mike informs Axl of his love for parachute jumps and Axl informs Mike of his mission to meet his father. Together they help each other overcome their own fears.

Unmade Beds - Vera and Axl
Unmade Beds - Vera and Axl

Meanwhile Vera (played by Déborah François) is also living in the squat and getting over the loss of a recent lover by meeting a new guy who we know only as X Ray Man. He gets this name because, when they first flirt with each other, Vera claims to be an air hostess and he, knowing she is lying, also claims to work in the airport in customs. They embark on a relationship together where they avoid exchanging phone numbers and even their real names for as long as possible. Instead they arrange to meet at certain times in designated places and find each other.

Apart from these four there are also several other characters too, most of whom live in the squat and come into it every now and then. There is also a bar/ nightclub that is a second home to them, which is the aptly-named Lost and Found club.

If you’re like us you’ll spend a fair amount of time during the film trying to work out the locations. The Maze (Mansfield Road) is quite dominant at the beginning. Later on they film a fair bit of it in Seven (Canning Circus) and there are countless examples of streets you recognise, but can’t quite place because of the blur effect used around the edges by the camera man. The squat itself is in Sneinton and it’s where they held the wrap party.

As a film it is reminiscent of Lucas Moodysson’s Together (2001), except with a slightly older cast and without the scary transvestite dominating. All in all Unmade Beds is really good fun and another good example of how Nottingham is really punching its weight in the British film industry right now due to vast funding from EM-Media and others.

It’s just a pity they can’t get people to actually publicise the city a bit more within the actual film, rather than giving in to the obsession about our capital. One critic described this film as “showing a side of London that hasn’t been seen before”. That would be a very northern side then…

Unmade Beds will be showing at Broadway Cinema until Thursday 24 December 2009.

Unmade Beds official site


We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now