Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
A KVIFF screening, from the young and talented Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos, a follow-up of DOGTOOTH (2009), which was a dark horse nominee of Oscar's BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR and I haven't watched yet. But Giorgos' eerie approach of scrutinizing modern-day's communicative malaise has its overt justification in ALPS.
Absurd, genuinely designed, full of fits of laughters about the mimicking set pieces, the film presents itself in a more comprehensive elaboration than I expected, although initially, it takes some time to figure out the real occupation and motivation behind the self-dubbed "Alps"group (maybe Everest could be a more befitting name since its the highest mountain on the earth and its irreplaceability should be more cogent than Alps as long as height is concerned).
But the wacky "impersonating the deceased"groundwork is not potent enough to sustain the film into a genius employment, since the demanding of this type of service and its viability to perform its presumed obligation (to console the next-of-kins' grief) is a moot question here, and eventually a win-win condition has to yield to the conceptual willfulness (in the film it is the identity misconception, a spontaneously unsurprising aftermath). But performance-wise, leading actress Aggeliki Papoulia is a natural treasure, rendering the eccentric antics much more personal dedication (which also includes an equivocal default of the relationship between her and her father, another Alps' case or not?), I put her among my top 10 list of BEST LEADING ACTRESS line-up of 2011.
ALPS is a patchwork piece, nonetheless, Giorgos' one-of-a-kind singularity alone could be singled out as one of the most intriguing and cutting-edge film artist to bring some mondo gratification to cinema nerds.
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