Alps

Yorgos Lanthimos confounded and excited fans with Dogtooth and he returns to theaters this summer with Alps – the story of a group that begins a business where they impersonate the recently deceased in order to help the mourning cope. In this interview with Landon Palmer, Lanthimos discusses toying with identity and death while giving an eye into his filmmaking process (and describing the difficulty in marketing a movie while trying to maintain its mysteriousness). Download Episode #140

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Alps Movie 2012

Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps, like his previous Academy-Award nominated critical favorite Dogtooth, is a movie that feels like a puzzle. Not an Inception or Lost-style puzzle where answers to mysteries are teased and delivered with thunderous revelation. Alps is a quiet, restrained work of artistry that’s cryptic in its approach to detail, ambiguous in its construction of characters, and deliberately distanced in its psychological, emotional, and visual landscape. Lanthimos and co-screenwriter Efthymis Filippou have once again created a film whose idiosyncratic microcosm is manifested through short scenes that reveal brief and often puzzling bits of information until those bits gradually accumulate into a more full understanding of what the hell is going on. Lanthimos’s films require a significant amount of work from the viewer, and should be credited for it. Alps opens with a striking image of a gymnast (Ariane Labed) performing rhythmic dance to a classical composition who is then verbally abused by her stone-faced coach (Johnny Vekris). We subsequently see a bloodied young woman in an ambulance being cared for by a paramedic (Aris Servetalis) who later informs a nurse (Aggeliki Pappoulia) that this woman is a tennis player whose favorite actor is Jude Law. I’ll save the details of what comes after for you to experience yourself (though many reviews have revealed much more than I will), but we come to find out that this unlikely quartet of characters (whose real names are never revealed) refer to themselves as “Alps” and are engaged in a strange and dangerous […]

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If you haven’t yet seen Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2009 film Dogtooth, run out and do that as soon as possible. It’s an absolute essential when it comes to the most interesting and experimental examples of storytelling that have come out over the last ten years, and it’s probably one of the most unlikely and effective horror films of all time. Well, check it out if you have a stomach for the horrible and strange…probably you should run far away from this post if you don’t. Still here? That must mean that you’re a fan of the off-putting and mind-effing, or even a supporter of Lanthimos’ work already. Rejoice, for I have some news that you’re going to be happy to hear. While doing an interview with Indiewire to promote his upcoming release, Alps, Lanthimos dropped the huge news that he currently has three possible English-language films currently in development, and though he wasn’t keen on dishing out any details, he did cough up a little teaser about each.

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New Greek cinema is a bit of a personal favorite of mine, what with my deep love of Dogtooth and my near-terrifying excitement for Alps, but I’ve somehow managed to miss yet another entry into the new wave – Attenberg. I have no excuse for missing the film – it’s shown at a number of film festivals over the past two years, including Venice, Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam, London, SXSW, and AFI FEST, and I’ve tried to make screenings at at least three of those festivals. But now that Strand Releasing is giving the film a limited release, I can finally catch it and presumably add it to my little pocket of Greek darlings. Written and directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari, the film has a solid pedigree for anyone interested in emerging Greek cinema. The film features a performance by none other than Yorgos Lanthimos, who also produced the project. You might know Lanthimos as the the writer and director of two of Greece’s most talked-about films in recent years – those would be Dogtooth and Alps. Tsangari also produced both Dogtooth and Alps, along with the American indie Lovers of Hate. The film is described as an “offbeat coming-of-age film” that centers on 23-year-old Marina. Stuck in a boring factory town, Marina is at the mercy of both her father’s impending death and her distaste for other human beings. And if you’re at all familiar with Lanthimos’ work, you’ll know that such a plotline is perhaps keeping things quite simple. […]

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If you’ve been paying as much attention to the lineup for this year’s AFI FEST as the rest of us Rejects (read: quite a bit), you’ve surely noticed that the festival’s programming is packed with a number of films that have played some of the year’s biggest festivals. If you’re in Southern California, the Hollywood-based (and free) film festival will give you a chance to check out the same films that played at Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, New York, Fantastic Fest, Sundance, London, and more. It’s like traveling without leaving your own area code, or spending the cold, hard cash it would take to fly halfway around the world. Sounds pretty simple now, huh, shut-in? AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available right HERE). The complete schedule grid is online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, check out 22 festival favorites (and a sampling of some of the other festivals they’ve played) that you may have missed throughout the year. Not sure if they’re worthy of clearing your AFI FEST schedule for? I’ve linked to all of our previous coverage, too, so you really have no excuse.

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Earlier this morning, my partner in LA film festival crime, the lovely Ms. Allison Loring, posted her list of Most Anticipated Films from this year’s upcoming AFI FEST presented by Audi. Of course, many of our choices overlap (Shame, Butter, Rampart), but we part ways when it comes to some of the smaller films at the festival. For all the big, Oscar bait flicks (J. Edgar) or the wang- and soul-baring Fass-outings (Shame again, always Shame), there are a few films that I’ve been positively rabid to see (Alps, Michael) that might not yet have the cache value and audience awareness of those other films. From the festival’s incredible list of 110 films, I’ve narrowed down my list to ten films that are my bonafide Most Anticipated Films of the festival. Like any list, I am sure that some of you perusing it will be displeased, weighing in on titles I’m a fool to miss. But hold your wrath for a few days, because many of the best titles of the fest are ones I’ve already seen, and those films might just crop up in an unexpected place (like, oh, another list). AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting today, October 27, right HERE). The complete schedule grid is now online for the festival, which you can check out HERE. After the break, […]

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Another day, another lineup announcement from AFI FEST 2011 that sends me positively reeling. Today sees the film festival rolling out their World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short selections. Today also sees me jumping up and down and repeatedly screaming, “ALPS! ALPS! ALPPPPSSSS!” As has been the trend with AFI FEST’s recent lineup announcements, this crop of films guarantees that the festival is a can’t-miss for any film buffs in the Los Angeles area. There’s a number of titles here that festival-obsessed cinephiles will recognize from recent events – films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill List, Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti‘s Carre Blanc, Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and for Dogtooth obsessives like me, Yorgos Lanthimos‘s Alps. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). Free, guys, free. After the break, check out the full list of the films to be featured as AFI FEST World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short Film selections.

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Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth is decidedly divisive cinema. The film played on the festival circuit back in 2010 (I took it in at SXSW in a tiny screening library room, via DVD on a tiny television) and ended up garnering a surprise Best Foreign Film nomination at the Oscars, but all that certainly doesn’t mean that the film is fit to be enjoyed (or possibly even consumed) by everyone. The film focused on a Greek family with three adult children who had been isolated from the world by their parents (namely their father) and taught to fear not only other people, but nearly everything else, especially cats. To further their isolation, the kids were taught incorrect meanings for words, leaving them essentially unable to express themselves to others, should they ever encounter them. There was also an incest storyline. Sound heavy? It was – and wasn’t. Dogtooth is wonderfully unsettling cinema, littered with humor darker than coal, and more messages about family and society than you could count on your fingers and toes. I loved it, but I also absolutely understand why other people don’t. Now Lanthimos is back with a new film, Alps, which will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Much like Dogtooth, the film looks to imagine an alternate sense of reality within the regular world. In the world of Alps, members of the titular group perform a service – they “stand in” for deceased people for their grieving loved ones. And, like Dogtooth, […]

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Considering how much I like striped shirts, pasta, and films from controversial Greek directors, it looks like I may need to stow away in someone’s suitcase and get over to Italy next month for the 68th Venice Film Festival. The fest, which runs from August 31 to September 10, has just released their lineup for the year, and I may be speaking out of my macaroni here, but this batch of films really wets my noodle. Nathan already reported last month that George Clooney’s The Ides of March was likely to join the festival, and today’s announcement confirms that twofold – Ides will not only show at the festival, it will serve as opening night film. Other good stuff here includes Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which has one of my favorite trailers of the year), Roman Polanski’s adaptation of play God of Carnage (shortened to Carnage), Ami Canaan Mann’s Texas Killing Fields, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Madonna’s W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps. In short terms, this is an incredible lineup of films that I cannot even remotely snark on, because I would probably do something violent if it meant I could go to the festival. Check out the full list of films after the break.

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Holy Hollywood, the selections for this year’s Cannes Film Festival (both confirmed and mostly-confirmed) are a star-studded bunch so far, if the rumormongers are to be believed, anyway. The news is coming pretty quick-fire at the minute, so I’ll run down the latest… First off, yesterday French site Le Figaro announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides will play on the Croisette out of competition on Saturday May 14th, before it opens to French cinemas on May 18th and in the US on the 20th. This is one I was half-expecting, given the coincidental release dates, and the fact that there are traditionally a couple of mainstream releases showing out of competition at the fest. The third out of competition (joining Pirates and Terrence Malick’s already announced Tree of Life) looks likely to be Kung Fu Panda 2, according to Thompson on Hollywood, who say the 3D Dreamworks sequel starring Jack Black will follow Jeff Katzenberg’s tradition of bringing a DreamWorks project to Cannes to take advantage of a “worldwide marketing blitz.”

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What’s better than a surreal movie about parents who imprison their children and torture them in creative ways? News that the director wants to get “darker.” According to the LA Times, Yorgos Lanthimos (whose movie Dogtooth was nominated for an Oscar) is working on Alps – a movie about a group of people who agree to act as replacements for lost family members and friends by mirroring their behavior. He’s already editing, trying to get it ready before Cannes in May, and he claims it’s both funny and dark, swinging between both “extremes a little bit more [than Dogtooth].” It’s fascinating to see filmmakers tool around with social norms and relationship dynamics. It looks like Greece may have its very own Sion Sono.

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