TIFF : ALPS

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Entertainment, Movies
Tags: ,

Is the new fad in independent movies to try to confuse the hell out of the audience?  Honestly, the last three films I have seen at TIFF have been less than straight forward.

Yesterday’s viewing was the film, ALPS.  It took roughly the first half of the movie to figure out that it was basically about a group of people who offered their services to the relatives and friends of deceased people as surrogates, to stand in for them in their lives and help relieve the grief.  As they were sometimes acting out roles and sometimes being genuine characters, following the plot was very difficult.  The acting was almost blunt (or as one questioner put it at the end of the film, horrible) and the script often very stark and artificial.  The entire movie was shot with almost no depth of field, meaning that most of the screen was often out of focus.  It gave me a headache.  When I asked the director for his motive for shooting that way he replied that he wanted the audience to focus on only one part of the scene.  Ya.  The film came to an abrupt halt, revisiting a sub-plot stream that was used to introduce the film.  The only problem was that the sub-plot had little to do with the rest of the film.

This was an example of self-indulgent film making gone terribly wrong.  Confusing the audince works at times because it draws the viewers into the film in an engaging way.  Cafe de Flore, managed to do that well.  The confusion within the plot drew you into the film in a meaningful way.  Even Behold the Lamb, a strange movie that has the characters carrying around a live lamb for the entire film without you really knowing why, eventually pulls it all together in a reasonably satisfactory way.

ALPS completely failed to do this and left the audience visibly frustrated.  Many of the questions put to the director reflected this, and I’m sure that he couldn’t help but understand that most of his audience was dissatisfied. Which is a shame because the basic write up, which attracted me to the movie, presented a very interesting and promising plot idea.

I would give this film a D.

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