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The title Alps refers to a fairly mysterious secret society of the same
name in Yorgos Lanthimos' follow up to the hugely successful Dogtooth.
I entered the film not knowing much about it, and I think that's the
best way for the movie to unfold for you, as a mystery. I think mystery
in general is Lanthimos' best gift here, Alps is a movie that really
lets you take your own view, leaves pieces of the jigsaw out and sparks
all sorts of different thoughts. I think I also felt that there's a
seedling of hope and compassion in the movie amongst an existential
debris of pragmatic, valueless and selfish individuals, which to my
mind makes it a lighter experience than Dogtooth (although most critics
have said otherwise). I think it's sad that, what I think are quite
serious films, are mainly sold by relating to their shock or comedy
value. The sequel-itis contagion requires a sequel to be darker, so to
some extent people have spun this film as Dogtooth 2 - RABID! There's
an aesthetic inversion in the sense that Lanthimos has Dogtooth
containing characters trying to escape from an artificial environment,
and in Alps characters are trying to create them. They're both about
"existential malaise", but other than that, perhaps should be treated
"Winter swimmers never feel the cold." is a phrase that comes up in the
movie. I think that a lot of folk here have got inured to soulless
living. The people who the society focus on live out the past, and only
value others in terms of what they can give to them, or how they make
them feel, they're devoid of altruism. As in Dogtooth there's scenes of
characters apeing iconic dream factory roles, the folks here are small
compared to the objects of their obsession. People are trying so hard
to be better than others, that they end up alone.
Difficult to talk exactly about the movie without spoilers, but I think
my take was that the main message is that redemption comes via
self-sacrifice, that people should grow up and be adults (western
societies have pushed back the assuming of adulthood later and later).
As in Dogtooth, there's a specifically Grecian comment about the old
feeding off the young (though perhaps this will resonate elsewhere).
The character that I want to hug is Monte Rosa (Aggeliki Papoulia), I
think she takes a beautiful journey, the journey to altruism.