Director: Eugenio Villani
Writer: Raffaele Palazzo
Producer: Eugenio Villani
Cast: Agnese Nano, Antonietta Bello
Year of release: 2017
Reviewed from: online screener
Bearing the parenthetical English title Others Like You, Altre is a 22-minute Italian short which is intriguing, thought-provoking and slightly disturbing. A thoroughly polished production, it looks great and is carried by a pair of very fine performances.
The opening two minutes will hook you, before we hit our main story. Ester (Antonietta Bello: La Buca, The Space Between) is a young woman who thinks she might be pregnant, despite a recent, unspecified operation. Greta (the hugely experienced Agnese Nano, who was in Cinema Paradiso) is a stern family doctor who says Ester’s perceived ‘symptoms’ of pregnancy are just a side effect of the surgery.
Disappointed, Greta adopts then loses a kitten. Searching for the missing feline, she discovers something dark and alarming, a secret that Greta has been keeping. More detail than that it would be unfair to reveal, except that the underlying theme is one of motherhood.
Now, I would be lying if I said that I fully understood the ending of this film. But that did not lessen my enjoyment. I like a movie that makes me ask questions, that offers unclear answers, that hints at ideas and suggests possibilities. This sort of open-ended, stylish enigma is something that Italian cinema has always done very well, and Eugenio Villani has done it very well here.
Villani has been making short horror films for about six years now, and you can find most of his earlier work on his Vimeo channel. This film’s script was written by Raffaele Palazzo, an actor who was in Villani’s earlier short Haselwurm.
Altre was kindly sent to me by Emiliano Ranzani whose own short film Langliena I reviewed a few years back. Emiliano is one of three credited associate producers on Altre, along with DP Carlodavid Mauri whose photography is a major part of the film's success.
The version I was sent was labelled as not quite complete but, apart from a couple of minor typos in the (otherwise very good indeed) English subs, it looked pretty finished to me. It was shot near Turin in November 2015.
The film isn’t yet out on the circuit (in fact it’s not even on the IMDB yet) but I expect that it will soon start popping up at festivals across the globe. Catch it if you can.
MJS rating: A-