The Open: Finding purpose in an age of extinction
by Martin Kudláč
- Budding filmmaker Marc Lahore combines a post-apocalyptic world with a sports drama, creating an imaginative survivor’s tale
Budding filmmaker Marc Lahore managed to finish his first feature project, The Open, with a crew of nine, a bold example of micro-budget production, verging on DIY filmmaking. The Open, basically a spin-off of Michelangelo Antonioni’s final scene from Blow-up, emerges as an idiosyncratic crossover between a post-apocalyptic tale and a sports drama. While the former frames the story’s setting, the latter serves as an instrument of survival.
A professional tennis player, Stéphanie, and her trainer, André, wander through the uninhabited countryside. André, the over-protective yet determined coach, captures a guerrilla fighter, Ralph, in order to convert him into Steph’s training partner. This single act of craziness - as Ralph, who witnessed, and possibly participated in, the gruesome events during the world war, sees it - starts to slowly give meaning to his life.
Lahore’s feature debut is a humanistic parable, in which fantasy tennis rackets, with no strings and no balls, transform into a survivalist urge, which is both mental and physical. The goal of reaching the finals of a fictional Roland Garros becomes the driving factor behind their will to carry on, even after everything else has ceased to make any sense and any prospects of the future have disappeared.
By replacing the desolate cityscapes with vistas of unspoilt nature, renamed after the greatest tennis players, the director tells an intimate and absurd existentialist story, which one would expect from the Greek New Wave. Lahore, as the cinematographer, aptly combines the photography of nature, evoking transcendentalism, and the cinematic quality of body movement during tennis, a symbol of ultimate determination. The result is a minimalist Andre Agassi-like reimagining of The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
The Open was produced by Village42, and co-produced by Bruit Blanc, Ring Ring Ring, Rubykub Films and Studio KGB. Rubykub Agency and Village42 are acting as the distributors.