Teik-Kim Pok, Dessy Fitri, Vashti Hughes, Ailís Logan
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…an offbeat, challenging little gem that you’ll be turning over in your head for days.
From its mouthful of a title through to its refusal to bend to narrative norms, Alvin’s Harmonious World Of Opposites, is a brave debut from promising Australian filmmaker Platon Theodoris. A genuinely unique new voice, he’s crafted an offbeat, challenging little gem that you’ll be turning over in your head for days.
Our eponymous hero spends his days shuffling around his tiny cluttered apartment lined with stuffed panda toys and vintage goods he’s purchased from eBay. Modern life has meant that Alvin no longer has to leave the house – he can shop online, video chat with his boss, and catch up with his friends via Skype. While he’s obviously got his issues, Alvin seems relatively well-adjusted for someone who spends his entire life locked in his apartment spying at the girl downstairs via a peephole in his floor. But with his crazed neighbour continually knocking on his door and fumigators threatening to kick him out of his house for – gasp! – eight hours, Alvin’s secure world and his headspace begins to unravel. He’s also growing agitated by a dark ooze leaking from his ceiling, and when he goes to investigate, Alvin discovers another world in his attic.
As we delve into what we assume is Alvin’s subconscious, the feature moves into some strange territory, which grows more baffling by the second. There’s a dark comedy underpinning it all, but there’s also a genuine ache. Without Alvin even realising or acknowledging, this is what the outside world has come to represent for him: something surreal and unknowable. In a way, it’s a cautionary tale to the potentially alienating digital age.
Shot in some spectacular locations, with a quirky little score and a pitch-perfect central performance from Teik-Kim Pok, it’s a film that’s been tenderly compiled. And while Alvin’s Harmonious World Of Opposites feels frustratingly and gleefully out of grasp at times, there’s also something refreshing in the fact that like Alvin, audiences don’t know where this journey will take them. They just need to be prepared to strap in for the ride.