By Don Simpson | January 29, 2015
Director: Stathis Athanasiou
Writers: Stathis Athanasiou, Mihalis Samiotis (Contributing Writer), Mihalis Kloukinas (Contributing Writer)
Starring: Serafita Grigoriadou, Tasos Karakyklas, Evdokia Chrysovergi, Silvano Olalla, Katerina Psychogiou, Savina Samioti
Director Stathis Athanasiou’s Alpha functions as a contemporary presentation of the ancient myth of Antigone; but whereas Antigone was willing to sacrifice her life for her beliefs, Alpha (Serafita Grigoriadou) has chosen to conform to the tyrannical government’s rules. A true bourgeoisie, Alpha focuses solely on self-preservation, yet she lives in a constant state of fear. When a fugitive surprisingly appears at her front door, Alpha’s quiet and reclusive life spirals out of control…
Exiled to the dreary post apocalyptic landscape of a barren forest, Alpha is confronted with the decaying corpse of the fugitive. Alpha attempts to salvage an existence from a land that has decomposed into a junkyard under the tyrannical thumb of the Orwellian government, but every time Alpha appears to be making progress in her struggle for survival, a ghastly greek chorus marches in and beats her into submission.
The recurring sounds of military marches illustrate the posttraumatic fearfulness of Alpha’s life, but it her guilt concerning the breakdown of her family unit that utterly destroys her. Just as the world has decomposed, so has the sense of family. Alpha’s childhood — the screeching wail of a crying baby, the surreal images of a child in a rabbit costume — nearly cripples her with Lynchian nightmares, such as a spectre in a gas mask who circumvents the linearity of time, forcing her (or us) to relive her past in order to inform her present.
Sometimes mysteriously oblique, other times viscerally poetic, Athanasiou’s film artfully discusses the inherent existential struggle of living in fear of everything. The puzzle-like structure of Athanasiou’s narrative unfolds like a treatise on the impossibility of true democracy, due to the inherent lack of justice and the natural human tendency to prefer isolationism and self-preservation. Though, the world of Alpha takes place long after a democratic state has evolved into a militarist dictatorship, at which point anarchy seems like the only viable next step.