Written & Directed by: #LucaSpreafico
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Blending a soulful narrative with eye-popping aesthetics, fashion film Alex from Milan-based filmmaker Luca Spreafico is exactly as the filmmaker describes; a film “at a crossroad between fashion film, short film and dance video”. But this isn’t simply a throwing together of ideas to see what happens to stick, Alex is a meticulous and imaginative look into the human psyche and focusing on the effects of trauma in a way that you might not have seen before.
We meet our eponymous lead Alex (Bonavigo) undergoing a session of EMDR therapy, a psychotherapy treatment that aims to help people attempt to process and alleviate traumatic memories. For Alex, being left home alone in the dark at a young age by her mother, albeit briefly, is a painful memory that she still carries with her some fourteen years later, and we see that insidious trauma take root via a flashback sequence of the film that plays out like a condensed thriller of sorts which even though seems like it ends a bit too quick to have a greater effect, does what it needs to in order for us to understand the anxiety Alex now has as her desperate cries for her mother pierce the air as she runs through the empty house.
Now, encouraged by her therapist to think of a happier, more comforting memory, for the remaining two thirds of this short film we are transported with Alex to her safe-haven of a beautifully grand villa fully realised within her mindscape and this is where the film really starts to find its feet and quite frankly, show off in the best way, although this is admittedly also where the film might start to lose a few people.
What no one will be able to deny is that Alex is an impeccably stylish feast for the eyes with the utmost attention paid to almost every aesthetic detail, which yes might be the very least you would expect from someone like Spreafico who has over a decade of experience working with in the fashion industry, but the unwavering consistency in quality on display here from the director/photographer is still an incredible achievement that, along with the stellar work of cinematographer Alessandro Ubaldi, should be fully commended, particularly throughout the film’s interpretive dance centrepiece which is beautifully choreographed and incredibly cinematic.
With that however, it does become a film that definitely finds itself leaning more towards fashion film with a somewhat lesser emphasis on the narrative, which means those looking for some more meat on the bones story wise might be frustrated here, and although its highly likely this was the intent all along, it perhaps could have benefitted slightly from expanding on this aspect a touch.
It might not be for everyone and perhaps it could have leaned into its narrative a bit more, but Alex is a film that knows what it wants to be and what it’s trying to say, the creative ideas at play here are great and unique and ultimately the film succeeds in achieving everything it wants to as well as being a technical and visual delight to watch.
Watch the entire film, Alex here: