Ninety-year-old sound artist and comedian Henry “Sandy” Jacobs lives a quirky existence at the end of Sunnyside Drive, a steep and winding dirt road washed by fog from the Pacific Ocean. Sixty feet down the hill lives his eccentric 84-year-old friend and neighbor, architect and former Frank Lloyd Wright collaborator Daniel Liebermann. These extraordinary old men, influential artists in the 1950s and ’60s, continue, each in their own way, to search the world for perfection.
Liebermann designed their umbrella-shaped houses after a catastrophic forest fire 20 years ago. Though the moon-like landscape has since regenerated into a thick, teeming forest, the building projects lie unfinished. Sandy is Liebermann’s biggest fan and an ideal inhabitant of a Liebermann house. He lives in the here and now, and, wary of words, shares his life experience against the backdrop of his own intriguing recordings from the ’50s. By contrast, the philosophical Liebermann dwells in the realm of memories and unfulfilled dreams. In open-hearted monologues, he reflects on his life and work. Meanwhile, Sandy’s granddaughter Lia, fleeing San Francisco, takes refuge on the land. Her mysterious and youthful presence contrasts with the old men.
Sunnyside takes us to an extraordinary place, a microcosm with its own distinctive rhythm and remarkable inhabitants. It is a film about creativity, the capacity to dream and, ultimately, the transience of life.