Trailer for Alps/Αλπεις (2011), dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
Saw this the other night with my badd boy Chris at the Gene Siskel Film Center. As I just recently watched Lanthimos’s brilliant Dogtooth (also with my badd boy Chris), I immediately recognized Alps as not just a companion piece, but the other - albeit samely blackened and surreal - side of the same coin. I haven’t yet made time to do my write-up on Dogtooth, but I think I’ll make it a double and write about it side-by-side with Alps. I only wish I’d seen the former in theaters, as well - it was a sublime experience to see this sting of a film on a big screen with a mature and discerning audience (something I love about Siskel Center regs).
One thing I can comment on right now, though, is I’ve figured out what surrealism is. Of course I know and have known the definition, but to truly experience surrealism and understand it mentally, emotionally and even physically is, to me, elation. Lanthimos just gets it. Put our character - our ground and control - into a world that looks and sounds like our own, impose heavy social constructs upon this world involving (what we in “reality” recognize as) cardboard dialog and frigid interpersonal relationships, and have absolutely nobody acknowledge that anything is even remotely strange. Ever. In fact, have our main character be so detached that even when she chooses to rebel, she only further alienates us as the audience as she becomes conspicuous to those around her.
Is it chilly in here, or is that just my heart?
I honestly haven’t had such a visceral experience in a movie theater in I don’t know how long. If you see that Alps playing at your local moviehouse, please go see it. I want to hear what you all think after I write my review/analysis.