Matthew Bunkell from the Picturehouse customer service team previews this week’s Discover Tuesdays presentation Aloys
Aloys Adorn is a private detective using his preoccupation with his work as a means to avoid addressing the death of his recently deceased partner and father. Having shunned the attempts of a former school pupil and anyone else for that matter, Aloys’ clandestine voyeurism meets an unwelcome end when a bus trip fuelled by shame, solitude and alcohol results in the loss of his veneer of the world – his camera. Aloys then finds himself in a cat and mouse pursuit and, perhaps, his one escape from a life of isolation in the form of Vera, an allusive blackmailer. She corresponds with Aloys through cryptic rhetoric, promising a far more significant existence through a practice known as “Telephone Walking”. By listening to the hidden frequencies of his phone, Aloys can transcend his own banal surroundings and enter world of his greatest yearnings.
This audacious debut will not be a film for everyone – its tessellated structure makes for a sometimes bewildering watch – but Nölle’s direction and command of the story provides a ridged backbone which could have so easily degraded into a soupy mess of abstract imagery.
The storytelling keeps the viewer’s grip on the narrative at arm’s length at all times: not enough to convolute and diminish its own rhythms but enough to make you wonder the depth of the protagonist’s own grasp on his reality. Hints of David Lynch’s sublime 1997 Lost Highway rumble underneath creepy images and suggestions of lidless eyes watching sleeping people and disembodied voices muffled by telephones.
As the film progresses Aloys becomes far more disassociated with the real world and slips further into the realms of cinematographer’s Simon Guss Fässler’s bleary-eyed landscape. Evoking work akin to Hoyte Van Hoytema’s contribution to vampire fairy tale Let The Right One In, Fässler’s cerebral scope makes the character’s visions a tangible character unto itself. The expanses of his frame and composition accentuates Nölle’s themes of space and physicality, both of which appear to have debatable laws whilst in the blissful reverie of “Telephone Walking”. Whilst Aloys might be subversive in form and execution, it still manages to retain a melancholic and touching tone and draws one into the possibilities and intrigue of its magical world.
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