"Alps" is Brilliantly Bizarre and Surreal


Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos's second feature film "Alps"  is just as thought provoking and bizarre as his Academy Award-nominated debut "Dogtooth".  He paints a very surreal picture that can be hard to understand but somehow is still very engaging.

"Alps" is the name of a clandestine group of four people who offer a service to impersonate the recently deceased in order to help their clients through the grieving process.  This group is comprised of a nurse, a rhythmic gymnast and her coach, and another man who is their leader.  They are called the "Alps" because it is ambiguous and doesn't say what they do, as well as being irreplaceable.  They meet in a gymnasium and don't go by their real names but are referred to by mountain peaks associated with the Alps.  The leader is Mount Blanc, the Nurse and the stories main character is called Mount Rose.

The film is mainly focused on Mount Rose, played by Aggrelikki Papoulia who also starred in "Dogtooth" as the Eldest daughter.  It is about the loss of identity and losing your connections to reality.  Mount Rose is a nurse who lives with her elderly father, but also seems to be a playing the part of his late wife.  She has several Alps clients and it is hard to find who the "real" Mount Rose is.  The Gymnast and coach are another things altogether, she is always in training and never seems to be ready.  Mount Blanc is sort of a mystery.  He is the quiet and stoic leader of the group who during a game of who would you most like to impersonate chooses Bruce Lee.

When Mount Rose breaks one of the rules of being an Alp she is cast out, this is where she loses her proverbial shit and has a complete mental breakdown.  Like trying to describe the meaning of a Salvador Dali painting, both "Alps" and "Dogtooth" just need to be experienced and usually more than once.