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A film of Pandemic Proportions

Review by Lew Antoine

As we see the light at the end of the tunnel we start breathing a sigh of relief over the CoVid-19 pandemic. While not over, we start applying hope.

But what if that wasn’t what was to happen.

Roy Shellef’s film “Alone” takes us to the seventh-year anniversary of the pandemic – with no end in sight. Can we call this a horror film? Sure. Can we call it horrific? Definitely. Shellef, four languages, as many monologues, some creepy camera angles and effects plus some lonely guitar chords provides us with a cautionary tale of nightmarish proportions.

Make no mistake, there are no gory scenes, no eerie creatures, just four people alone on different parts of the world … thinking they are the only ones left. The simple dialogue serves to frighten more than any ghoul.

Joshua Wallace starts us off with command as an American – looking like a student – whose only friend is a recording devise allowing him to philosophize his terror; Eli Sundler perfectly sets us up to go around the world looking the part of a poet from a far-off land writing his final prose of the end of the world. Sundler gives us the feel of art dying; Chantal Casutt – particular devastating as a young french girl in the throughs of dying from this disease. Vacillating between madness and introspection the rash-ridden Casutt was a disconcerting harbinger of things to come for them all; Mariana Sanjuan, face dirty, sitting in front of a chalk board counting the days of loneliness, tells a story with the power one might feel when talking of any war; and Yijing Liz Song as a young woman who seems to be living in total terror. One might think that if she feels so alone why must she cower in the corner … what is she waiting for?

Each portrayed a different facet of loneliness. Interesting that there are five. Are these the stages of grief? If so, then Casutt might be acceptance and that would make the film even more terrifying.

Writer/Director/Producer/Cinematographer, Shellef seemed to hold the camera too close on his actors or cut away a bit too soon or revealed them in the middle of a sentence, making the film appropriately claustrophobic and morbid. Shellef kept it real and that made all the difference.

This really compelling work should be seen as the well-made film it is; as a cautionary tale; and as a chance to open a dialogue about what we are doing to ourselves and to each other.

Alone is currently touring the film festival circuit


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