In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival.
Neither have I seen Todd Robinson's Lonely Hearts (2006). Dowd dubbed the film "spectacularly crazy" and "grisly, darkly comic stuff", praising its star duo Laurent Lucas and Lola Dueñas as embodying "these infamous maniacs with can't-look-away conviction." At MUBI's Notebook, Daniel Kasman observes: "Shot close in intimate 16mm, the film juggles tones deftly to capture the loneliness, desire, horror, humor, and absurdity in an amour fou between two single sociopaths who find in each other an intense, primal attraction.
Anticipating Noir City, however, I made a point of not missing Fabrice Du Welz's Alléluia (2014) at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), which—as a Belgian entry—was included in PSIFF's World Cinema Now sidebar, as well as being featured in PSIFF's newly-launched and edgy "Breaking Waves" program. But both persons are so distorted, and the love between them thereby turning so distorted, that it leads not to the greatest, strangest love affair—though you could call it that, I suppose—but the most perverse: the man sets up a scheme to seduce and rob women, and the woman, quickly beset by manic jealousy, to kill them." At Cinema Scope, Blake Williams writes: "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.
Alléluia screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Variety's Peter Debruge noted: "Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz makes good on John Waters' prediction that the trashy cult classic The Honeymoon Killers was due for an Internet-era remake." Updating the tale's lonely hearts ads to online dating, Alléluia delivers its "cautionary satire" in unsettling co-dependent spades. 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." Last, but never least, Girish Shambu adds: "The 'termite-art' highlight of the festival.
Debruge adds: "Du Welz's interpretation serves as an expertly calibrated dismantling of Hollywood's perfect-couple myth, suggesting that love—especially that which borders on obsession—can sometimes be the most toxic force on earth." At The Hollywood Reporter, Boyd van Hoeij's bottom line: "Two rock-solid performances, gritty cinematography and an impressive mise-en-scene make for a great movie." Alléluia next screened in the Vanguard program at the Toronto International (where David Hudson picked up a few reviews at Fandor's Keyframe Daily, as did Critics Round-Up). 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." Alléluia then bolstered its festival pedigree at Austin's Fantastic Fest where it won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor.
Notwithstanding, it was perhaps one of the most sparsely-attended screenings I caught at PSIFF, emphasized by its being projected in the Camelot's largest theater, but—as someone who enjoyed the film—I was glad to see it on that giant screen, slight audience be damned.
Alleluia is raunchy and rollicking dark fun whose visual flourishes I relished at every chaptered turn.
As noted in the PSIFF program note: "Courtship is an arcane ritual and love demands blood sacrifices in Fabrice Du Welz's gloriously deranged retelling of the ripped-from-the-headlines cult classic, The Honeymoon Killers.
Director: Lisandro Alonso Writers: Lisandro Alonso, Fabian Casas Producers: Ilse Hughan, Andy Kleinman, Viggo Mortensen, Helle Ulsteen U. Distributor: Rights Available Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby We’re used to our favorite auteur Argentinean filmmakers making us wait and this will have been the longest he has been between feature film projects.
An expert in the vérité form, the untitled fifth feature following , Lisandro Alonso teamed with the linguistically versatile Viggo Mortensen for what should be one more distinctly art-house item.
Gist: A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization.