movie-review logo az world news

ALPS (2011, GREECE) – 8/10


I read somewhere that the theater of the absurd was partly created because all those famous writers could no longer find any meaning in the world after World War II. When, according to them, the whole world and everything they knew lost all meaning and became completely absurd, why should their actions make sense? Why wouldn’t it also be completely absurd, devoid of all logic and sense from a realistic point of view? The world created by Jorgos Lantimos and his screenwriting collaborator Eftimis Filipou, who, after the breakthrough film of the Greek strange wave, presented an equally shocking and absurd film at the Venice festival, is also completely absurd and senseless.

Reality is completely distorted in “Alps”, as the film is called, as well as a bizarre agency whose members play recently deceased people for a fee so that their family members can more easily bridge the gap. That idea itself is completely absurd and surreal, but only Lantimos and his friend Filipou are able to build a story around such an idea that in the end makes a lot of sense and can be seen as a brutal criticism of the world, especially the Greek society that was then in huge problems, and the state is on the verge of bankruptcy. And the four members of this agency – the young gymnast and her coach and the informal leader of the group, that is, the Mont Blanc hospitalist who will hire an estranged nurse as the latest acquisition, offer all kinds of services.

If necessary, they will play dead spouses, young tennis players killed in a traffic accident, even the late husband of a blind old woman who often asks them to act out the scene in which she caught her husband in bed with her lover. It’s all crazy, unreal, and it’s no surprise that the conversations and even the diction are somehow cold, flat, devoid of emotions, completely unnatural and lifeless. They all seem to have a very hard time separating their real lives from their work, but a nurse will go one step further and completely mix up reality and the roles she was hired for.

With this film, Lantimos went one step further than his predecessor “Fangs”, because there he presented only a microcosm of a completely perverted, twisted and disturbed world, and in “Alps” the whole world is like that. Everything there is completely dehumanized, people don’t behave like people, but everything that happens there for this twisted, unreal world, seems normal and natural. And it all exudes a dark deadpan tone, and the viewer is constantly expecting when this sick banter will stop and when someone will say we were joking a little, but now we’re back to normal, but that doesn’t happen. The constant is that tone located somewhere halfway between comical and creepy, sleazy.