A lonely private investigator is contacted by a mysterious woman who pulls him into a mind game known as 'telephone walking'. Fascinated by her voice, Aloys discovers an imaginary universe t... Read allA lonely private investigator is contacted by a mysterious woman who pulls him into a mind game known as 'telephone walking'. Fascinated by her voice, Aloys discovers an imaginary universe that allows him to break out of his isolation.A lonely private investigator is contacted by a mysterious woman who pulls him into a mind game known as 'telephone walking'. Fascinated by her voice, Aloys discovers an imaginary universe that allows him to break out of his isolation.
Nölle's Swiss-German drama Aloys is a conceptual experimentation in exploring social behavioural traits through pseudo-science, not explicitly seen since Gondry's 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. Whilst not nearly as romantic as the aforementioned feature, Nölle opts to focus his story on isolation. That intense confinement of loneliness that drives mental well-being into inexplicable actions, including suicide. From the offset, the sparse dialogue and distant camera shots perfectly imitate Aloys unaffectionate persona to the world. Staring at his father's coffin as it rampantly catapults into a crematorium furnace. The frustration exposed on Friedrich's face whenever an outsider asks a question. A relatable, yet problematic personality that creates a barrier of connectivity with the main character. That is until the anonymous female voice enters the fray and commenced the unique "Phone Walking" exercise, which profoundly transforms a melancholic portrait into a plethora of psychological divulgence.
Nölle audaciously alters Aloys to become a sensual experience, once this neurological method springs into action. Enabling viewers to listen out for background ambience, taste the descriptions of specific food types as these two troubled individuals imagine a party, and sensitively touch specific objects depicted through vocabulary alone. The sharp editing cuts between reality and fantasy, often depicted as a barren woodland, allow audiences to share this imaginative process with both Aloys and his female counterpart. Slowly breaking down that isolated barrier once Aloys begins to comprehend this technique. The transparent alteration in Aloys' elation whenever his "virtualised" interpretation of said female joins his imaginary self, is exquisitely portrayed by Friedrich whom acutely balances fragile mentality with vulnerable fear. Whilst Nölle's direction infers a romantic partnership, the surface-level characterisation instead implies a friendship of understanding and reinforcement, which coincidentally suits these personalities more.
Various narrative bumps do seem to be discarded swiftly, including the reasoning behind the unknown female stealing his possessions in the first place and the continuation of his current investigation. However the biggest issue is the heavy-handed metaphorical equivalence for their confinement, particularly when discussing a seal believing it is still in the Atlantic, but actually imprisoned in a zoo. Whilst perfectly acceptable analogies, their inclusion negates the subtle storytelling that Nölle had effortlessly incorporated throughout. Almost a forced last attempt at conveying the mentality of these characters, yet wholly unnecessary.
Regardless, the sheer conceptualisation of virtualisation through descriptive telephone conversations to chip away at unapproachable personalities is worth the watch in itself. To accompany that refreshing technique with solitary characterisation, despite the yearning for deeper exploration, makes Aloys a desirable phone call indeed.
- May 19, 2020