In a not-so-far-away future, Alpha, a conforming bourgeois woman, refuses to provide shelter to a mysterious Fugitive, for fear of putting her controlled life in danger. The Fugitive is captured and Alpha arrested and taken to the Forest, where the authorities throw the castaways and the condemned. She is put in a chair under the hanged body of the Fugitive until the authorities decide she has been punished enough. The Fugitive is her brother. She hates him.Written by
Uneven, but sometimes powerful and always amazing looking
Gorgeously photographed, this surreal, experimental tone poem of a film is very loosely based on Sophocles' "Antigone", but where Antigone willingly took on the authorities to mourn and bury her brother in spite of their edict forbidding it, this much less initially heroic modern variation of the heroine turns her brother away as he's being hunted down by frightening gas masked soldiers of the dictatorship. Alpha just wants to protect her 'safe' life. But as is so often the case in dictatorships, no one is safe, and soon, Alpha is dragged into the desert and abandoned there, sitting under a tree that holds the rotting corpse of her brother.
The rest of the film observes Alpha's attempt to survive physically, spiritually, psychologically and emotionally, fighting slowly going mad in her 'Waiting for Godot' like exile. And while she loses all she thought was important, in some ways she also finds parts of her humanity that were long dormant.
The film uses sound to great effect, and intersperses hallucinatory bits of Alpha's childhood memories throughout the film. There's a David Lynch sort of vibe, especially 'Eraserhead', in the surreal imagery and sound, and in the refusal to play by the usual rule of narrative. But this film isn't playful in the way 'Eraserhead' is. It's deadly serious, arguably too much so for it's own good at moments. While I admired it's techniques and ideas, some ideas are too heavy handed and/or repetitive. That said, I found the first and last 10 minutes quite strong, and the film grew on 2nd viewing, it's capturing of the sense of being in the middle of a stifling nightmare pretty darn disturbing and effective.
Note: the film is often screened in conjunction with live theater elements played out in front of it, in an avant-garde mix of artistic media.
Note 2: The film and the theatre-piece/film combo are both available to watch and/or download for free on it's website: http://alpha- movie.com/
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