The Forest of Lost Souls (2017) – Review (en)
The Forest of Lost Souls is arthouse horror in the most beautiful way. Poetic, meaningful and downright nasty.
|A Floresta das Almas Perdidas
José Pedro Lopes
José Pedro Lopes
Sadness will last forever. That’s what Van Gogh said to his brother, Theo, before he died. For Nietzsche, the thought of suicide was a great comfort, a haven by which one could survive bad nights.
With this prologue the Portuguese The Forest of Lost Souls starts into his gloomy black and white world. After a brief, gorgeous montage we observe a young woman dressed in white committing suicide – fitting the prologue. Sadness will last forever.
Followed by a breathtaking beautiful intro starring a forest out of papier mâché, which adumbrates the beautiful scenes the film will provide. After that we find ourselves again in the forest, which is a prominent place for suicide. There we get to know Ricardo, a middle aged man, and Carolina, about the same age as the young woman before, who are meeting there by chance.
That’s the initial position for The Forest of Lost Souls. Over the next couple minutes we learn a lot about our two protagonists. Director and writer José Pedro Lopes did a great job by creating empathy for both of them. The light-footed dialogues between them made me hang on their lips and I was really curious what was about to happen. What might sound a little weird with both being in an suicide forest.
How the story goes along won’t be revealed in this review – of course. I would suggest you watch this movie without knowing anything about it. The introduction so far might sounds like a real heavy, depressive drama, but I can assure you Lopes will surprise you. Nevertheless the movie remains in his core an arthouse horror and is similar to movies like The Eyes of my Mother or A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – especially when it comes to the look of the movie. So we have to deal with one of my favourite dishes: arthouse horror drama. So run while you can, I’m settling in.
Like I said the movie was shot in black and white and looks really lovely. Not only the deprivation of any colour fits the dismal topic but also it gives the movie a slightly surreal mood, whereof the genre bending profits. This is supported perfectly by the great sound design, which seems always a little bit too loud – in a positive way. The score especially of the second half gives us a lot of synthesizers which feels like out of 70s or 80s flick. In the meantime a ominous, bassy score dominates the acoustics. This results in a wunderfull audiovisual experience – almost to perfect for an debut.
The actors did also a great job. In particular Daniela Love and Jorge Mota, who are playing the mentioned duo, are brilliant and I really enjoyed watching them perform.
In the end The Forest of Lost Souls is not only beautifully shot but also a really interesting work about suicide and grief. Additionally to that it’s a commentary on a superficial hipster generation which absorbs everything with not caring about any deeper meaning. For me it’s kind of criticism on cultural appropriation. It’s quite interesting that a big horror success this year also dealt with a similar topic: Get Out. These superficial utilization of cultural items may come more and more to the spotlight. Maybe there is hope for us lost souls – or when was the last time you made some meaningless pop cultural quote?
Sadness will last forever. The more we analyze a funny story the sadder it gets. Time destroys everything. If the idea of suicide is a great comfort, a way to survive bad nights, away from everything and everyone. I’ll be here to end your sadness. Welcome to the forest of lost souls!
Bildquelle: The Forest of Lost Souls © Anexo 82