Beeswax is the latest film from Andrew Bujalski, the godfather of mumblecore. You know about mumblecore, right? Maybe you read about this latest US indie filmmaking style in the New Yorker earlier this year. Maybe you got in on the ground floor. Anyway these films are usually super low-budget, often with improvised scripts and non-professional actors. They usually focus on a new generation of slacker types and their relationships. Bujalski’s characters aren’t usually that young (they usually seem to have been out of school for a while), but they are people who don’t have ‘accomplished’ lives – or if they do there is still something shambolic about their circumstances. Beeswax is pretty pro compared to earlier films – it’s in colour and it even kind of has a plot.
Jeannie and Lauren are twin sisters living in Austin, Texas. Most of the action stems from the friction between Jeannie and her business partner in the vintage clothing store she runs. Will the bitchy Amanda really come through with a lawsuit? Jeannie has to turn to her ex Merrill, who is almost a lawyer, for advice. This is probably the first time I have even seen a character/actor in a wheelchair where absolutely nothing about the plot has to do with them being in a wheelchair. That was cool.
This was my very last film festival movie and I wasn’t sure that I had the energy to power through. But I’m so glad I made the effort to get to Beeswax. It is charming and funny and a real pleasure to see the nuances and humdrum details of life through Bujalski’s lens.