A Floresta das Almas Perdidas (The Forest of Lost Souls) (2017) Review
Short film director Jose Pedro Lopes (Survivalismo, 2011) has produced his first feature length film, the dark and disturbing, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas (The Forest of Lost Souls).
The titular forest is Portugal’s most infamous suicide spot. One morning two complete strangers with their own demons to bear meet within the wood. Ricardo (Jorge Mota) has planned to end his life but is interrupted by the arrival of Carolina (Daniela Love) who shares similar motivations. Ricardo attempts to make sense as to why a young woman with her whole life ahead of her has a desire for a premature death while Carolina is hostile towards him. She soon gets under his skin in analyzing his situation. Events head into a tense and sinister direction that proves unpredictable and absolutely compelling.
A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is shot entirely in black and white and while it comes across as cinematically stylish it also complements the melancholic tone of the film. It contains striking cinematography, and each frame is polished and beautifully composed. The cinematography makes the most of the beauty of the location. Overall it’s a very visual film, mostly telling the story through imagery with little dialogue. However, the dialogue spoken proves powerful and effective.
Daniela Love delivers a stand out performance as a complex young woman with extremely dark thoughts on her mind. Carolina is a chilling character and her actions throughout the film are fascinatingly disturbing.
Plot-wise, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is surprising and heads down an unexpected route from the film that first begins. It tackles a hard hitting subject matter artistically making it somewhat different and experimental.
The film incorporates a beautiful and haunting score which adds to the already chilling atmosphere as well as brilliantly fitting soundtrack.
With a relatively compact run time of 71 minutes, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas achieves a great deal in its narrative and visual storytelling. It’s a film that offers up complex and riveting characterization that drives the story. The violence is tastefully portrayed however it’s a film that packs an emotional and psychological impact.
A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is a filmmaking achievement for Lopes, taking on a very real and emotionally difficult subject matter and creating something truly inventive. The film is an intriguing entry in the horror/mystery genre.
A Floresta das Almas Perdidas receives its world premiere in February 2017 at the Fantasporto Film Festival.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJeL_vi9EQ8
Hayley Alice Roberts