The only residents of young Nicholas' sea-side town are women and boys. When he sees a corpse in the ocean one day, he begins to question his existence and surroundings. Why must he, and all the other boys, be hospitalised?
Nicolas is a boy living on a remote island set in the future, or another planet - or is it a dream? His village consists of white-painted houses located above the sea with a volcanic rock and black sand coastline, populated by young women and boys all of a similar age to Nicolas. Whilst swimming, Nicolas makes a discovery in the ocean, which is shrugged off by his mother, who, like all the women in the town has tied-back hair, is pale and wears a simple thin beige dress. Nicolas is curious, thinks that he is being lied to and starts to explore his environment, witnessing some unsettling scenes. He then finds himself taken to a hospital-like building where he, along with the others, undergoes a series of medical procedures by the women, dressed as nurses. He is befriended by one nurse, who becomes instrumental in the film's denouement. The film is not easy to categorise; it is not only enigmatic but beautifully filmed with deeply poetic imagery. It reflects the fear of the unknown, ...
How Acla disappeared from Earth
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Not a Horror Film
I never write reviews, but I feel compelled in this instance to do so. It seems to me that this movie is done a grave injustice by giving it the moniker of "horror" film.
Horror implies a lot of things, and some of them are present here. There is a sense of unease and tension. The main character certainly has reason to doubt the sincerity of those who are "caring" for him. For some people, there are elements which might be "disturbing." However, the same can be said for films like Boys Don't Cry and Eraser Head. Though these two films have little to nothing in common either with each other or with Evolution, they two contain "distressing" elements, but are not horror movies.
The reason this seems important to me is that horror comes with expectations that this film is not meant to fulfill. This film would better be viewed with the idea, instead, that it is portraying, beautifully, an archetypal dream world, that it is something of a Jungian fantasy.
It is full of references to the chthonic nature of the mothers - the ocean, the cave, dark mysterious rooms, the mysterious nature of the mothers themselves. The androgynous nature of the mothers is important, as well. The doors left open through which the boy can, if he chooses, pass.The boy's sketch book in which he draws his OWN archetypes, ferris wheels and cars among other things which we are to understand are not among those he has consciously experienced is perhaps the most brilliant example. All of these things are part of the boy's hero myth, of his gradual act of individuation as he questions his way through this world. There are two possible fates awaiting this boy as there are for any active mind. Will he passively accept his fate among the mothers, or will he rebel? The thing is, you don't have to be interested in psychology to feel these things - they are natural. They are dream elements, and this film is, in a way, a beautiful dream. If it is watched without an expectation of that which makes a horror movie "horrible," there are layers and layers here that can be enjoyed without reference to terminology. You can FEEL them. You can SEE them.
In the latter department, this film succeeds wondrously. Every single frame is perfectly positioned to draw us in. It is glorious to look at. The score is also very subtle and beautiful.
It really is an amazing film. I just think you have to come at it with as few preconceptions as possible. And you definitely should leave the notion of "horror" at the door. If, then, you DO experience horror, it will be a genuine reaction, and if you don't, you won't feel like the film has failed you.
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