cinewise

Alps

2011 | Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos | Wri: Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos | Greece, USA, France, Canada

Screenshot from Alps

Perhaps more than any of his films to date, Alps has the highest accessibility threshold as director Yorgos Lanthimos keeps all of his cards to himself. You could argue that he relinquishes very few of them by the end either. So I wouldn’t recommend this for the uninitiated, but as a companion piece to Dogtooth, this works wonderfully.

Although never properly articulated, the film revolves around a nurse (played by Dogtooth’s Angeliki Papoulia) and her three comrades who impersonate the recently-deceased to ease the pain for their mourning families. It’s an absurd premise played out in pure deadpan fashion. But Lanthimos and co-screenwriter Efthymis Filippou don’t hold anything back as things take a much darker and sometimes much bloodier turn pretty quickly.

Admittedly the pacing requires a lot of patience from the viewer, as well as an unwavering confidence that it will go somewhere. Some of the plot points are frustratingly left open, but this would have jarred a lot more were it not for the fact that everything seems to be under control.

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the best directors in world cinema at the moment. His world is twisted, downright weird, and seemingly hopeless. Much like the nurse, he blurs the dictinction between fiction and reality pretty effectively. As an audience you will lose your bearings, but by the end you know you have witnessed the work of a singular talent.