The trauma of the 1995 Mount Vision Fire churns at the center of a new documentary by Belgian artists Frederik Carbon and Katrien Vermeire, called “Sunnyside.” The film, named after a winding road that dead ends on the Inverness Ridge, follows the final months in the lives of the iconoclastic architect Daniel Liebermann and his neighbor, the experimental sound artist Henry “Sandy” Jacobs. The longtime friends died within a month of each other in late 2015, during production.
The film combines Vermeire’s meditative photography with a hallucinatory mix of sound by Carbon and Jeremy Harris such that you could almost watch it with your eyes closed. It is a fugue of friendship, landscape and solitude. Nothing much happens, until it does, like a tragedy by Beckett set in a bishop pine forest. There is an unshakable and unexplained attachment between the two men and a tangible sense that we are nearing the end of the world they built, and re-built, together. In Beckett’s words: “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”