I'm still not exactly sure how to describe the films of Andrew Bujalski. I've seen all three of his features, Funny Ha Ha (2002), Mutual Appreciation (2005) and the new Beeswax, which is currently playing on 2 screens in New York and Los Angeles and will expand to more theaters in the coming weeks. Funny Ha Ha really struck me when I saw it in 2004, but I think his films have improved since then, and Beeswax is really something wonderful. Of course, the word most people use to describe his films -- and other similar films in the same "wave" -- is "Mumblecore," and I suppose that's effective, but there's more to it.

Bujalski tends to focus on young people in their twenties and thirties. They're educated and middle-class, but probably not the most driven folks in the world. One character in Beeswax, Merrill (Alex Karpovsky), prepares to take the BAR, but when he doesn't do so well his first day, he shrugs: "it will still be there for me in six months. And then six months after that." The movie focuses on identical twins, Jeannie, who runs a vintage clothing shop, and Lauren, who is currently unemployed but thinking of taking a job in Nairobi. They're played by real-life twins Tilly Hatcher and Maggie Hatcher (whom Bujalski has known for years); Tilly needs a wheelchair to get around, but the movie refuses to make a big deal out of this. It's just there.
categories Columns, Cinematical