Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, March 9, 2000. (In Sundance Film Festival —American Spectrum, Berlin Film Festival market, SXSW Film Festival.) Running time: 71 MIN.
With: Laura Macias, Caveh Zahedi, Celia Gamburg, Francesca Schneider, Henry Rosenthal, Moe Ghassemi.
Tediously and nerve-gratingly self-indulgent, “A Sign From God” has the air of something made for a small circle of friends, most of whom appear on screen. Written and directed by Greg Watkins and reportedly drawn from the real-life experiences of lead player Caveh Zahedi, this technically ragged indie comedy about an annoying indie filmmaker will need a major miracle to reach audiences beyond the fest circuit.
Much like everyone else in a cast of mostly non-professionals, Zahedi more or less plays himself. In sharp contrast to Laura (Laura Macias), his increasingly pessimistic live-in girlfriend, Zahedi adamantly refuses to let anything — even an eviction notice served by their impatient landlady — dampen his serene self-assurance that the best is yet to come. When he isn’t interpreting random events as helpful signs from God, Zahedi seeks loans from friends and makes pitches to producers. (Typical of his proposed projects: An all-dwarf version of “Little Women.”) Meanwhile, Laura frets over the possibility of her pregnancy and repeatedly threatens to leave Zahedi. After what seems like a very, very long time, pic does not end so much as abruptly halt. But not abruptly enough.