Aloys, a virtual portrait of an extraordinary man
by Muriel Del Don
- BERLIN 2016: The latest mysterious feature film by Swiss filmmaker Tobias Nölle had its world premiere in the prestigious Panorama section of the Berlinale
Tobias Nölle, one of the brains behind the collective project Wonderland [+see also:
interview: Carmen Jaquier and Lionel R…
film profile] (Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis, Preis für den gesellschaftlich relevanten Film 2016 and third prize of the Junior Jury at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival) is showing at the Berlinale for the first time with Aloys [+see also:
interview: Tobias Nölle
film profile], his latest feature film, which had its world premiere in the Panorama section, highly anticipated as always.
Aloys, the latest captivating feature by the Swiss director, ventures into the mind of a man on the edge, trapped between reality and fiction. Aloys, the main character in a love story bordering on madness (and what rejuvenating madness, it must be said!) often and freely talks about himself in the third person, as if indifferently observing a life that doesn’t belong to him. What has caused him to become so detached from reality? Perhaps it’s the need to distance himself from a world that doesn’t accept him for what he is, that can’t tolerate his unique mind, which is so sensitive it’s unreal. His life seems to be suspended between the ritualised monotony of his apparently stifling everyday life and the reassuring world inside himself, a sort of refuge in which he transforms the real into violent poetry.
Aloys Adorn (the surprising Georg Friedrich) is a detective who lives and works with his father, with whom he shares a close bond. His professional life slowly but surely intrudes on his private life, compelling him to film people he doesn’t seem to have any relationship with 24 hours a day. Upon the death of his father, Aloys’ world falls to pieces and there is nothing left to protect him from the world around him. After a night of heavy drinking, our mysterious protagonist wakes up on a bus and realises that his precious recordings have disappeared. Shortly after, he’s contacted by a mysterious woman, Vera, who starts a dark game with him via his phone called “telephone walking” which uses imagination as their only point of contact. A new world, sensual and deliciously violent, surprisingly more real than reality, looms on the horizon.
How far can we go before the unreal turns into madness? Does the concept of madness really exist or is it just a word we use to define what invariably slips out of our control? In Aloys’ case, we could talk of obsession, a virtual way out of a world he cannot accept unless it is filtered through the lens of his camera. Tobias Nölle elegantly portrays a modern antihero trying to find himself, a character worlds apart from the standard ‘macho man’ with dazzling smile and irreproachable behaviour we’re generally fobbed off with. Aloys’ madness is incredibly human and moving, with nonconformist tones. The relationship he strikes up with Vera becomes increasingly intimate and tangible, despite the physical distance between them, as if the imagination uniting them could replace physical contact between them, the taste and gentle feel of their skin. Simon Guy Fässler’s splendid photography and the surprising shots that seem to isolate Aloys from the rest of the world give the entire film an almost esoteric touch of romantically pop undertones. A mysterious and powerful film that works as an antidote against banality.
Aloys is being sold internationally by New Europe Film Sales.
(Translated from Italian)