Director Giorgos Lanthimos collaborates further with co-writer Efthymis Filippou to create something even more leftfield than Dogtooth.
Alps of the title refers to a clandestine group in which each member is codenamed after an alpine peak. They offer a bizarre service to the bereaved, supplying a surrogate loved one, replacing those who have recently died. The replacement spends periods with the family etc, dressing and behaving like the deceased, speaking in a formerly-agreed script. Nuts? You betcha. The film raises more questions than answers, most notably who is crazier – the people who do this for a living or the people who hire them?
The shooting style is verité and the acting naturalistic (some of the cast are non-actors). It all makes for a raw and realistic package. I feel it’s a little underwritten. It’s not clear what some of the scenes are meant to be telling us and the plot is a little muddled. But
Alps is startling in its originality. It’s not often you can say a new film is unique but this one is. As the subject matter would suggest, it’s extremely quirky. It’s funny and uncomfortably so. It doesn’t, however, make light of each situation. The consequences are a powerful reminder that it’s not all just a game.
The film was exec-produced by Athina Rachel Tsangari, writer and director of the recently well-received Attenberg. Not hugely renowned for its cinema, it seems
is experiencing a new vibrancy in this area. Let’s hope the current austerity measures don’t put an end to that. Greece