For the better part of the last year, we’ve been catching wind of Chilean director Sebastián Silva’s triumphant festival run, which kicked off with a Sundance world premiere for his latest feature Nasty Baby, and was quickly followed up by a Teddy Award for best LGBT-themed film at the Berlin Film Festival. Throughout, heads were turned not only for Nasty Baby’s unconventional narrative, but especially for comedy A-lister Kristen Wiig’s atypical turn as a family practitioner committed to mothering a child with her gay best friend.
Taking place in a yuppified version of Spike Lee’s beloved Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Nasty Baby gives us a slice of life from an unlikely trio of friends and lovers. Silva himself plays a performance artist named Freddy, who desperately wishes to raise a child with his partner Mo and enlists his best friend, Polly (played by Wiig) for the task. When it turns out Freddy’s sperm count is low, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of Mo, who isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea. All the while, the couple is harassed by a slightly off-kilter and menacing neighbor nicknamed The Bishop.
The trailer suggests another example of Silva’s trademark style, with a handheld documentary-style camera twitching and jerking its way through scenes anchored by impressively naturalistic performances. Dialogues overlap and unfold in a nonchalant, almost improvisational manner, which lends the film a light, playful tone that fans of Silva’s past work will surely recognize. That is, until chugging heavy metal guitars and aggressive flashing titles assault the senses and suggest some sort of impending doom. Images of fire and blood help get the point across without making explicit exactly what is going on.
Much ado has been made of Nasty Baby’s surprise third act, and we can probably assume that the trailer parallels this abrupt and possibly deadly dramatic turn. Audiences in select markets can head to their local indie theater to find out, while the rest of us will have to wait for Nasty Baby’s VOD release on October 30, 2015.
Nasty Baby is currently playing theaters in Los Angeles and New York and opens in Chicago on October 30.