23 October 2016



'Every party comes to an end, and left behind are lonely people...'

Wow. I mean, wow. This is a highly unusual and very special film. For the first fifteen minutes or so, I was completely confused by it. Putting it bluntly, I didn't have a clue what was going on in it. Then the clouds began to clear and I started to see where it was going.

The film had my full attention from then on as I was caught up in a story so sad and beautiful it's kind of making me want to cry all over again as I write this. That's right, I cried when I watched ALOYS. Buckets, in fact.

The surplus drums of tears are out the back now, waiting to be airlifted by the 'gummint' to drought-stricken villages around the world who urgently need my water. Fact or fantasy? I'm not telling, but it's kind of in keeping with this German-language film, which is a gorgeous blend of fact, fiction, fantasy, vivid bursts of imagination and depressing truths.

It's surreal in places, which might confuse or even annoy some people who prefer a nice linear storyline with no switching back and forth between fantasy and reality. I don't mind a bit of surrealism as long as I can keep up with it. As I was able to in this case, I actually don't mind it at all.
It's kind of intregral to the plot, anyway. And I think the plot, simplified as much as I can simplify it, is really just as follows.

Aloys is a middle-aged man living in Switzerland who is desperately, despairingly lonely, whether he knows it or not. His elderly father, his partner in their private detective business, has just died, leaving Aloys more alone than ever before.

Aloys lives in a small flat in an anonymous high-rise tower block in a bleak wasteland of similar accommodations. Everyone in their little boxes, see? You'd have to be a very happy person indeed not to be affected at least sometimes by this rather depressing way of living.

He has a cat, at least, so that he's not completely devoid of company. He also shares his home with, as he says himself, '5,000 hours of film' in the form of his surveillance tapes. He records everything, even stuff to do with his everyday life which is nothing to do with his work at all. He then spends his leisure hours watching and re-watching these tapes. How sad is that?

Anyway, long story short, Aloys unintentionally begins a telephone relationship with a woman who lives in his building but who's actually in hospital at the moment, if you get me. She gets his attention by stealing his precious camera and a load of his tapes while he's passed out one night on public transport, dead drunk and depressed.

At first, Aloys is outraged by the woman's audacity when she calls him to blackmail him about his belongings. But then, little by little, he begins to fall in love with her voice on the other end of the phone. She even involves him in something called 'telephone walking,' which really just seems to mean describing different imaginings to each other over the phone in such a way that they become real.

The Aloys of their joint imaginings is a much nicer, more open and more sociable person than the Aloys in real life. Vera, his telephone buddy, opens up his life to light, love, friendship, fun, music and even life itself. It's wonderful to witness.

After all, you haven't really lived, have you, until you've shared a Capri-Sonne with a large muscular transvestite in a red wig and yellow tights on a bench in the woods, or met a sheep in an elevator? Or invited the lads who run the local Chinese round to your gaff for a party where you play electronic music on the organ under a glitterball while wearing a naff 'Eighties jacket? 

Life with Vera, Aloys soon finds out, could be like this all the time. If she'll only stay with him...

I have a theory about Aloys, who reminds me a lot of Sally Bowles's German-Jewish friend in
the movie CABARET. You know, the guy who deliberately makes a play for the beautiful department store heiress purely because she's loaded but then falls head-over-heels in love with her for realsies? Anyway, that's not my theory about Aloys, it's just that the two lads could almost be twins, they remind me of each other so much.

No, my theory, although there's no mention of it in the film, is that Aloys has Aspergers' Syndrome, a condition on the Autistic Spectrum which causes a person no little difficulty when it comes to making friends and inter-acting with people socially. With a little ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) person in my own family, I feel like I recognise the signs...!

The film is about loneliness, I feel, and loneliness is a condition that surely everyone can identify with. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, no matter how fun-filled and busy their lives can be on a good day. (Or on Facebook, haha, where everyone mostly shows their best side...!)

I feel it myself sometimes bringing up my own little ASD family member, with all that that entails. Maybe that's why I really feel for poor lonely Aloys, and why I hope sincerely that he and Vera aren't prevented from getting together in person and making a go of things. For every old sock, there's an old shoe, as the old and rather apt saying goes. Or is it, every old sock finds an old shoe? Hopefully, you'll know what I mean anyway.

ALOYS, the first full-length feature film by director Tobias Nőlle, is out now on Home Entertainment Release in the UK and Ireland. I strongly recommend it. It won't satisfy anyone looking for car chases and cool guys who walk away from explosions without looking at 'em(!), but for anyone seeking a thoughtful, intelligent, sad and beautiful film that'll punch you right in the feels department, ALOYS is just the ticket. Watch it today.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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