Lanthimos has chance to impress Mostra’s jury with Alps
by Stefan Dobroiu
After winning the Un Certain Regard Award in 2009 with Dogtooth [+see also:
interview: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile], the gates of Venice open for Yorgos Lanthimos’ third feature, Alps [+see also:
film profile]. An absurd tale about humanity, loss and not following rules, the feature may well impress Mostra’s competition jury, which is led by Darren Aronofsky, and return home with an important award. For those familiar with Lanthimos’ previous work, Alps is obviously treading similar waters…
The film’s premise centres on a new service for hire. A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast and her coach form Alps, a team that helps people who have suffered the loss of a dear one to move on by standing in for the dead relatives, friends or colleagues. Has your daughter, a passionate tennis player, just died? No problem, the Alps (their slogan is “when the end is here the Alps are near”) are there, ready to help you not to so suddenly cut all the connections with the dead one. With tennis paraphernalia, enthusiastic talk about the last match and worries about the sport outfit or shoes, the stand-in gives the impression of normality, that nothing has changed.
Lanthimos borrows not only the main actress from his first feature, but also the style. One of the most convincing young Greek actresses, Aggeliki Papoulia, plays a nurse who chooses not to observe the Alps’ strict code of honour (it mainly stipulates that the team’s members shouldn’t have intimate relations with their clients). Absurd, flat conversations recall similar moments from Dogtooth, while the Alps’ leader’s strictness is not far at all from the family totalitarianism in Lanthimos’ second feature.BR>
Although the similarities between the two films are a touch disappointing, Alps successfully brings introduces topics such as identity, loss, control and alienation. For a film produced by a company named Haos Film, it certainly has all it needs to always keep the audience in check.
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