Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Mother and Child Reunion: Filmmaker Christopher Munch's the Sleepy Time Gal, Debuting on Sundance Channel, Uncovers Secrets from His Own Past. (Television)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Mother and Child Reunion: Filmmaker Christopher Munch's the Sleepy Time Gal, Debuting on Sundance Channel, Uncovers Secrets from His Own Past. (Television)

Article excerpt

There are a thousand words for loneliness, and out writer-director Christopher Munch seems to understand them all. He's not well-known outside the world of film aficionados--chalk that up to his dreamy, subtle sensibility and his intense aversion to the Hollywood hustle. Still, he's hustler enough to have made feature films out of several arrestingly personal narratives: 1992's The Hours and Times imagines a wistful weekend between John Lennon and gay manager Brian Epstein; 1997's Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day pictures the last days of a railroad, with Michael Stipe as the gay one among the lonesome souls who run it. Now comes The Sleepy Time Gal, an astute chronicle of unexpressed love premiering March 29 on Sundance Channel.

Munch acknowledges one secret of his success: his knack for cranking out lush-looking movies on microbudgets. "The shooting [on The Sleepy Time Gall took place over about 2 1/2 years simply because I didn't have a big enough chunk of money at any one point to do the whole thing," says the soft-spoken 39-year-old. "It really was held together by chewing gum and a lot of care. Every time I do one of these things, I forswear ever doing it again. It really takes its toll."

Munch also knows how to attract talent and show it off to superb advantage. Sleepy Time is a roundelay of unfulfilled desires: Frances (an inspired Jacqueline Bisset) is a beautiful woman, now dying, who wants to heal the emotional damage she's left in her wake. That means facing the lover (Seymour Cassell) with whom she had a daughter, long ago given up for adoption; the petulant gay son (Nick Stahl) who jealously resents even the little he knows of her freewheeling past; and, most poignant, the young attorney (Martha Plimpton) who's searching for the birth mother she'll likely never find. …

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