“Making and Unmaking” (2020) – Movie Review

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

In the opening scene of Making and Unmaking, a fantastic and fascinating 62-minute documentary from directors Shaun Rose and Andrea Stangle, Rose speaks of the aspects of his equally captivating debut feature, the “meant to be semi-autobiographical” Upstate Story (2018). He also conveys how the endeavor would become “more truth than fiction”. Herein, he also speaks of his worries of the 60-minute Drama failing. Furthermore, he communicates how this would reflect his own alleged shortcomings.

The honesty with which Rose addresses these feelings and ideas immediately spoke to me as a fellow filmmaker who, admittedly, has my own share of self-doubt in relation to my own work. It is this nature of personal reflection and frankness that is perceivable within every frame of this brilliant and heartfelt project. This is also a glimpse into the myriad reasons why this is essential viewing for any creative-minded individual. It is because a great number of the shortcomings in the artistic process Rose addresses throughout the undertaking, especially early-on, are universal. They will undoubtedly hit home, perhaps uncomfortably at times, for many. Such occurrences help make Rose a relatable and engaging figure throughout the entirety of the endeavor.

Making and Unmaking concerns the triumphs and downfalls, both personally and artistically, Rose experienced while preparing Upstate Story. It also recalls the ups and downs in offering the picture to the film festival circuit. The exercise also goes into intriguing detail on an unfinished film called “Dog Day” (2012-2013), which was stated to be about the technological swing in society. We also get several equally intriguing glimpses into other shorts Rose crafted before Upstate Story. These behind-the-scenes bits, which come largely in the first half of Making and Unmaking, are wonderful. They are quietly touching in their intimacy.

Making and Unmaking benefits from its uniquely independent movie look and tone. This is reflected via the excellent and appropriate-for-the-endeavor cinematography from Rose and Stangle.  Moreover, the interviews and archive footage heighten the emotional intensity and compulsively watchable essence of the production. The script for the endeavor, credited to Bruce Rose Sr. as well as Shaun Rose and Stangle, is well-structured and penned. Continually, the direction from Rose and Stangle is equally deft.

Recorded in New York and made on a reported budget of a mere $500, Making and Unmaking is constantly admirable in the way it handles its complex entanglement of themes and sentiment. Additionally, it is efficient and nicely paced. The attempt evenly balances all that it offers audiences. In turn, the virtuoso effort is also a refreshing affirmation of encouragement. While portraying the numerous avenues of excitement and irritation a single fabrication of imagination can make an individual go through, it, ultimately, showcases the light of joy that radiates when the construction is given to the world and praised. In this respect, as well as all the other regards previously mentioned, Making and Unmaking is a masterpiece; a cinematic four-course meal. It is a must-see which every viewer can somehow grow from and utilize in their own lives.