Alléluia Screen 7 articles

Alléluia

2014

Alléluia Poster
  • This is less a film more than it is a joke, with director Fabrice Du Welz spending the span of an average feature cultivating a tortuous set-up, only to deliver the punchline as a titlecard which runs directly before the closing credits. And, to be frank, this punchline for which we've all been waiting so diligently is something of a damp squib.

  • Du Welz's film becomes very repetitive very quickly, doubling down on heaving bodies and gushing arteries in order to sustain some sense of momentum. The director's fetish for invasive close-ups and spatial incoherence comes to seem an aesthetic gimmick, promising a sense of intimacy that never comes to pass, as his film devolves into a genre film that presumes it has the imprimatur of psychological horror.

  • Du Welz is one of the only filmmakers who makes good use of Lucas, an actor with a tendency to coast on his looks and charm when he’s not being challenged; he’s well paired here with Dueñas, who brings a startling intensity to the initially mousy Gloria. The movie’s only real problem—a significant one, unfortunately—is that it isn’t really about much of anything, apart from indulging our queasy fascination with the idea of murderous lovers who prey on society’s castoffs.

  • Fabrice Du Welz’s present-day reiteration (complete with online dating) is a formally sleek study of looming insanity, and is prone to innervating jolts of hysteria; it also contains one hell of a balls-out performance by Lola Dueñas. And while it may ultimately go down in memory as that film in which Laurent Lucas mimics Humphrey Bogart’s hippo call from The African Queen, its conflation of the ridiculous with the sublime is this neo-extremist’s most admirable and stirring manoeuvre to date.

  • It's a frenzied and exhausting film expertly done, the tight camerawork achieving all that the jittery handheld "naturalism" of action-Hollywood and social art-house movies fails to do, going not for realism or immediacy but complicity... intimacy, and myopia. Above all, it is the actors and du Welz's supreme dedication to their earthy carnality, the contours of their faces and fervor of their bodies, that so convince that this is love, lust, and insanity.

  • The ‘termite-art’ highlight of the festival. Every frame of this film seems to simultaneously carry a fierce awareness of its meager resources and an imaginative response to it. Most of Alleluia (and almost the entire first half) is shot in close-ups of never-ending invention: partially and playfully lit frames, frames divided into zones, expressionist pools of color, bold graphic strokes, starkly inscribed silhouettes.

  • During a fateful meeting between two future lovers/partners in crime, a man describes his new inamorata as being "like a letter from a far-off land." The same may be said of Alleluia itself, which, though brand-new, already has the feel of a decades-old, recently uncovered exploitation flick making the rounds thanks to a righteous benefactor — precisely the fate that might await it should intrepid cinephiles sleep on Fabrice Du Welz's film during its brief stint in theaters.

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