FRIDAY, MAR. 16:
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos.
Stars: Aggeliki Papoulia, Ariane Labed and Johnny Verkis
Country: Greece, 2011
Running Time: 93 mins
Critically acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film has been categorised under drama but it might sit more comfortably under horror.
It tells the story of The Alps, a clandestine group of people who act as substitutes of dead people with the hope of offering some form of relief to their grieving loved ones.
They act out snapshots of the deceased characters’ lives for money which often come across as flat and unemotional under the circumstances.
It is unnerving to learn how The Alps go about their business — like the seemingly cold-hearted act of asking a young car crash victim the details of her life as she is dying so they can use the information to better act her out. The shallow questions such as ‘who is your favourite movie star’ add to the idea that this healing method is doomed to failure.
The group consists of a paramedic, a gymnast and her coach, and an emotionally detached nurse who takes her role as substitute to the extreme. She becomes so involved in her subjects that she begins to lose her mind adding yet another bleak twist to the plot.
The director successfully sets out to leave the viewer unsettled, cringed out but most of all emotionally drained by prostituting our sacred human relationships. It is a challenging film that will leave you feeling sad and empty.
Unfortunately, it also has moments of boredom due to some drawn out scenes and unnecessary extended silences.