Nina (Miriam Mayet) is a budding film director who just needs two people in the cast of her low budget enterprise, a film she hopes will get behind closed doors and into the inner truth of her characters' private lives. She has recruited a young friend, Hans (Matthias Faust) to play the male lead and a young woman, Marie (Lana Cooper) for the female equivalent, and rehearsals begin in earnest in a roomy but neglected Berlin apartment. They decide on each others' names, what the opening scene will be - basically love or lust at first sight - and prepare for their magnum opus...
Bedways was one of those arty movies that arrived after the turn of the century that believed a great way of getting to the heart of relationships would be to depict them as explicitly as possible, and here the big idea was that the film within a film would reflect the experiences of those making it. Not a bad idea, it's been used before, but with a crew of one person (Nina) it was hard to take as a representation of a professional undertaking and more resembled some ultra pretentious home video. Which funnily enough was how Bedways came across to most of those who saw it, as if its writer and director Rolf Peter Kahl, an actor for some years, were reviving his student days by method of cinema.
Indeed, although those days were far behind Kahl, the whole enterprise looked like something a disciple of Jean-Luc Godard might have made in their more impressionable mindset. So you get the characters sitting around discussing various aspects of life, and stern intertitles saying things like "The Third Day", or "GOD" or "NO", as if this was all very important, although you might find yourselves being turned off early on. It's difficult to get a handle on what Kahl was trying to convey, and even the sexual angle, which the film opens with and often returns to, is less dreamily erotic and more like watching skinny Lucien Freud paintings getting it on. The sex tells us nothing, really, that could not have been put across in some well-honed dialogue.
Except well-honed dialogue is noticeably lacking here as the project looked to have been inspired not only by Godard but by Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs as well: imagine a making of documentary about that type of film only crafted by amateurs, complete with a couple of interludes for a band to play (in someone's sitting room, apparently) and you have an idea of what Bedways aimed for. You could assuredly call the three main cast members brave, as they get up to stuff that not every actor or actress would be comfortable doing, knowing that those images of them would be out there for all to see, but that didn't necessarily make them entertaining. One virtue this did have was that it was short, barely an hour and a quarter, so if the muted conversations on life as we know it were beginning to wear you down, at least you could watch one of the actresses masturbating for five minutes. Wait, is that a good thing?