Directed by Kevin Kopacka
Starring Anna Heidegger, Cris Kotzen, H.K. DeWitt, Ufo361, Jonas Hofrichter, Philip Grüneisen, Vanessa Drosdatis, Philipp Droste, David Garzón Bardua
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Follow up to the surrealist short film Hades, writers Kevin Kopacka (who also directs here) and H. K. DeWitt are back with a visually daring and boldly engaging movie. TLMEA (or Tolomea), like its predecessor, descends into an abstract idea of hell, where life, dream and death coalesce in a thrilling story about two cops investigating a drug dealer whilst experiencing a blurring of reality.
TLMEA is a sublime piece of experimental filmmaking, gracefully touching upon the cornerstones of cinema whilst serving up a completely fresh viewing experience for audiences. The use of stark imagery is enhanced by menacing lighting, the use of jolting title cards, and a soundscape which is utterly breathtaking. In fact, whilst I loved the visuals, plot and performances of TLMEA, the score, provided largely by AIKO AIKO & Kevin Kopacka, was my favourite aspect - hauntingly intriguing, there was a coldness to it which perfectly suited the tone and atmosphere of the short film.
Moving on to the performances, Cris Kotzen who plays Schweitzer (one of the cops), is absolutely fantastic. His stoic facade and intensity is brilliant to watch, navigating the increasingly bewildering scenes and locations as the main focal point for the viewer. Anna Heidegger delivers some of TLMEA's most beautiful scenes, a non-speaking role that is still marvellously engaging. The cast as a whole, many of whom appear on Hades, are superb, all contributing to the dark and thrilling tone of what is a challenging mix of crime, fantasy and thriller.
The film does suffer from an incoherence that is more prominent than in the first movie. Some audiences may struggle to stick with the plot, but for viewers who are accustomed to the narrative devices of experimental filmmakers and arthouse films there is a lot to chomp on here, not to mention being far more accessible than some movies from those genres.
Intensely gripping throughout, TLMEA is a challenging film in all the right ways. Succumb to its dark enticement and there is a huge amount of viewing pleasure here. Be warned, though, you just lose your soul.