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Film / Alps

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Alps (or Alpeis, its transliterated Greek title) is a 2011 Greek drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (of Attenberg and Dogtooth fame) and starring frequent Lanthimos collaborators Aggeliki Papoulia and Ariane Labed.

In an unnamed Greek town, four people - an ambulance driver, a nurse, a gymnast, and a gymnastics coach - form an organization called the Alps, where, for a considerable fee, they will impersonate the dead as a way of offering closure to the bereaved. However, things start to go off the rails when the nurse, who calls herself Monte Rosa, becomes obsessed with her latest role - a teenage tennis player - and then finds out that the role has been recast.

The film contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: This being a Yorgos Lanthimos film, very little is made clear about what's going on.
  • Becoming the Mask: Monte Rosa becomes increasingly obsessed with the people she's impersonating.
  • Creepy Monotone: All the characters speak in a monotone. Becomes particularly jarring in one scene where Monte Rosa lets a client perform oral sex on her and yet still sounds bored.
  • Dance of Despair: As her life falls apart around her, Monte Rosa barges in on a dancing class and forces one of the patrons to dance with her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Towards the middle of the film, Gymnast tries to kill herself after Matterhorn refuses to let her train to pop music. Luckily, Monte Rosa intervenes.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the cast are only referred to by their nicknames, like Monte Rosa or Matterhorn. One character is only known as Gymnast.
  • Sanity Slippage: Initially, Monte Rosa seems fairly sane, if a little depressed. As the film progresses, however, she becomes increasingly obsessed with assuming Maria's identity, and by the end, she's breaking into Maria's parents' house and trying to sleep in her bed.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: This film was conceived as a reverse of Dogtooth - whereas the former was about someone trying to escape a fictitious world, Alps is about someone trying to enter a fictitious world.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: After learning that Monte Rosa lied about Maria's recovery so that she could impersonate Maria, Mont Blanc beats her across the face with a baton. The next scene shows her stitching her own cheek back together.