There's a few reasons why I'm so drawn to silliness on television like 'Tim & Eric' (and other various shows on cartoon network/adult swim), 'Family Guy' and 'American Dad': To balance out all the serious, heavy and often depressing films I constantly watch. The second reason is that I just don't find many recent comedies very funny outside of a few exceptions like; 'Wet Hot American Summer', 'Super Troopers' and 'Harold & Kumar'. After that, other comedies i enjoy are essentially guilty pleasures that I know deep down inside are quite stupid ('Beerfest' and 'Grandma's Boy' are a few examples). I love watching movies but I also love to laugh. Recently I haven't been able to rely on film for laughter. But somehow Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos was able to change all that, tap in to my brain and make a film that actually spoke to me in terms of humor. Can you believe I'm actually saying such a corny phrase? A film "spoke to me"? But It's true. Films like 'Alps' and 'Dogtooth' are proof that I'm not crazy and my odd sense of humor is shared by a few other people in this world. Thank god filmmakers like Yorgos Lanthimos exist. He seems like the kinda guy who sits around making up really fucked up, yet funny "What if..." scenarios in his head all day.
|Aggeliki Papoulia gave one of the best performances |
of last year in 'Alps'
The ALPS motto reads:
Don’t weep, don’t cry
Don’t be sad
Don’t be sad
Wave sadness goodbye
Say “hello” to joy
’Cause we are here, by your side
We are the Alps
Oh yeah, we are the Alps
No need for sadness
No need for pain
We’ll be there, there, there
No more unhappiness
Grieve no more
The Alps are here
We are your friends
We are your lovers
We are your father
We are your colleagues
We are the Alps
Oh yeah, we are the Alps
Their "Fight Club-esque" rules are:
1. Must declare in advance the things he or she is unwilling to do by filling out Form 1 (e.g. kissing, lifting weights, travelling, etc.).
2. Must also declare in advance the things he or she is good at by filling out Form 2 (e.g. dancing, waterskiing, discussing, etc.).
3. Must have some basic knowledge of psychology and sociology.
4. Is obliged to support, under all circumstances, the interests of the Alps group.
5. Must respect other Alps members.
6. Has the right to change their nickname only twice. They cannot choose a nickname belonging to another Alps member.
The nickname must strictly be the name of a mountain in the Alps, and not something general or irrelevant (e.g. Blonde, Master, Dragon, etc.).
7. Can never talk about Alps activities with non-Alps members.
8. Is obliged to take the Gymnastics Club Test, if necessary.
9. Must be over 14 years of age.
10. Should always be smart, clean, punctual, and in complete control.
11. Must never get emotionally involved with clients, or have intimate relations with them.
12. Cannot change his or her physical appearance without the Leader’s permission (e.g. dye their hair, lose or gain weight, wear coloured contact lenses, etc.).
13. Must be able to make convincing facial expressions (sadness, happiness, despair, etc.).
14. Must honour the title of their membership, and be ready to kill or die for it.
15. Must never attack another Alps member, and must believe in teamwork.
Outside of the intentionally dry delivery of the actors, 'Alps' and 'Dogtooth' are completely different stories yet they do share a loose connection. They both explore similar themes. On the subject of his last two films, both centering around the same lead actress (Aggeliki Papoulia) Yorgos Lanthimos said;
Doogtooth is the story of a person who tries to escape a fictitious world. Alps is about a person who tries to enter a fabricated world (cineuropa.org).
So although both films are technically comedies, they still explore the tragedy of people getting caught up in worlds that aren't real. Even in his unique comedic world, Lanthimos isn't afraid to take himself seriously from time to time. Sometimes its difficult to tell if Lanthimos' films are dramas hidden inside of a comedy, or comedies hidden inside of a drama. His work walks that fine line.
As far as performances go, there's something about the films star; Aggeliki Papoulia's delivery and comedic timing that I cant really put in to words without overpraising her. Even though 'Alps' is a comedy, she plays the role with the same intensity (which is written all over her face) that you'd expect a method actor to have for a serious drama. If you happen to check the internet for images from 'Alps', you'd notice how serious and intense her face is through out most of the film. If only comedic performances were treated with the same respect as other performances she'd be given way more praise. In my opinion, based off of what I've seen her act in so far (which I admit isn't much) she's just as funny as current female comedic heavyweights like Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig or Amy Poehler (although no one is quite as funny as Amy Sedaris).
As you can see, its very difficult to not mention both 'Dogtooth' and 'Alps' in the same breath. Both films feature that odd, unique atmosphere of (early) Michael Haneke (if he actually had a sense of humor), Robert Bresson, Todd Solondz and a more toned down Tim & Eric collaborating on a script. I hate to sound so over the top, but its almost impossible to not enjoy 'Alps' if you like 'Dogtooth'. Furthermore, if you are one of the few odd souls out there that actually DIDNT like 'Dogtooth', I have confidence that you'll enjoy as well. 'Alps' is slightly more mature and Yorgos Lanthimos' disturbing nature is toned down a bit in 'Alps'.
This is not to be missed when it comes out.