100% Off: A Recession-Era Romance: Two Seattle Couples Gradually Come Apart

Not yet 30, local filmmaker Shaun Scott has an unusual affinity for history and archival footage. Both are woven deeply and somewhat distractingly into the parallel stories of two struggling Seattle couples. It’s not just the present recession but perhaps deeper, structural economic forces that are pressing on Jean and Jessie (writer/director Scott and Stephanie Kim) and Kyle and Rosa (Matt Giampietro and Laurie Roberts), cash-strapped millennials all. Granted, it takes a while to tease out the players from the montage, voice-overs, and vintage jukebox score. It finally emerges that video interviews of the quartet are being made by the INS to determine if Argentine Rosa has married slacker artist/thief Kyle for love or citizenship. Jean and Kyle are Rainier-drinking best pals who fret about hard times, but their conversations are interlaced with radio snippets, TV clips harkening back to Ronald Reagan, UW history lectures alluding to Howard Zinn, and some bookseller raving about Tao Lin’s Shoplifting From American Apparel. All of which does obscure the drama of whether our two central couples will make it or not. That could better have been one short film, and Scott might’ve packed the politics into a separate essay project. But give him credit for the two-fer. This shoestring Romance may be grainy and hard to follow, but it’s also considerably more ambitious than your average local indie.