One of the shortest feature films at Sundance this year, and certainly the most family friendly among the films of Park City at Midnight, is Madeleine Olnek’s film Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. Along with Hobo with a Shotgun, Codependent has one of the most descriptive titles at the festival. And it’s almost as difficult to remember as Martha Marcy May Marlene. However, it’s much, much more light hearted than these other films. And it’s hilarious.
The film really is aptly titled. It’s about a bunch of aliens that come from our own galaxy. On their home planet, leading experts are attributing the disappearance of the ozone layer to those residents of the planet with “big feelings.” So they’re sent to Earth to have their hearts broken. Only then will they be able to return home. Oh, and they’re all lesbians.
The movie is filmed in black and white, and is proud of its minuscule budget. As Olnek herself put it, the film is a throwback to those ultra-low budget sci-fi films of the fifties. Although it’s mixed with the contemporary idea of codependency to make it not only hilarious, but relevant. While it’s not an overt commentary, there’s much there about lesbians feeling like aliens, feeling displaced etc. But that’s not the film’s point.
Zoinx (Susan Ziegler) is one of the aliens stuck on earth. She falls in love with a Jane (Lisa Haas), an employee working at stationary store. Their awkward and endearingly warm affair is the focus of the majority of the story. There’s also a side plot involving “men in black”, who are charged with monitoring the alien situation, and keeping tabs on the extraterrestrial visitors.
Olnek was assisted by an excellent cast who boost the already witty writing that Olnek also provided. The crowd at Sundance couldn’t have been more pleased with the film. While the low budget was never a distraction for me, it, along with the subject matter, title, and black and white filming, it will certainly limit where the film goes after the festival. But Olnek promises Codependent will be doing the festival circuit most of the year. This is an unlikely favorite of mine from the entire festival, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re lucky enough to get a chance.
Check out our interview with the director, Madeleine Olnek here.