A mysterious underground outfit known as Alps has developed a bizarre new trade: for a small fee, they inhabit the role of people’s dearly departed, adopting their mannerisms and wearing their clothes until the bereaved can finally obtain some measure of acceptance and closure. Strangely enough, business is booming, until one of the group, who has developed an imaginary friendship with a comatose patient, takes her role-playing too far. Fans of the absurd dark wonder of Dogtooth (LIFF24) will thrill at the return of Greek maverick director Yorgos Lanthimos with Alps.
In this extract from an Indiewire interview, Yorgos Lanthimos discusses the origin of Alps and his unconventional approach to narrative film storytelling.
‘This one just came by discussion with Efthymis Filippou [screenwriter]. We had shown Dogtooth in Cannes and were thinking about what we could do next. There was a discussion about what happens when you did – does anyone remember you; how long does it take for people to forget about you? At some point Efthymis had an idea about people who have lost someone, asking from someone else to write them letters, pretending to be someone that had died to keep some kind of connection with them. I thought that was interesting, but I wanted to make it cinematic and engaging. So I thought about the story of the nurse in the hospital. It seemed much more interesting and complex if she actually physically tried to stand in for these people. It could be associated with so many different things, not just death. It became about these people who are offering this service. ‘I find it much more interesting if people are able to explore and get lost in the film. I want them to discover things little by little, and have to the space to think of different things while watching the film. It happens in real life. Everything that you see in front of you doesn’t come with a set of instructions. I don’t know who you are and how you’re going to react to various things. There’s so much mystery in life. I thought when you’re watching a film, that was supposed to be the idea.’
BBFC Cert 15.