The film opens with a social gathering shot in the style of a home video, with nice color and camera movement to support that impression. We jump back to the previous year to two women talking – one telling the other that the doctor's are not hopeful, although we are not clear on what. The next season sees Alice carrying on but with a somber air before the next season sees the two women coming back together again briefly ahead of the social interaction we opened the film with. The narrative is not really delivered so much as dropped in between the sections for us to pick up on.
Mostly then the film is a feeling and for me it was one of sadness. I felt it in the social gathering and more specifically in the first dialogue scene where Lucienne's Alice tells Maimone her bad news, with the latter convincingly but subtly struggling to process. From here we have another musical section which follows Alice and, although not adding too much, does continue this sense of isolation and hollow drifting. The final dialogue scene is a little less natural and convincing but does work to support this feeling and it did make me feel for the two women for different reasons. Whatever illness is claiming Alice, it is clear she is going into it alone – perhaps because it is easier for her to do that or because she doesn't want to have to deal with sympathy from others, not sure. But there is a sadness to everything which is tangible. I would have liked the actresses to have had a bit more time to interact rather than so much musical parts, but mostly it works.
As director Ukpo gets very engaging footage – particularly in the home- video style section. The frame in a doorway is not perfect but is still interesting, although this scene reminded me that sound seems to be his weakness; it is not awful here but it is almost overly present – with footsteps, objects moving etc too dominant in the audio, and the voices too "studio" (I'm not technical so it is hard to describe how it sounds to a layman like I). The acting is mostly good from both Lucienne and Maimone – even if the viewer doesn't totally understand their relationship, it is clear they do.
Alice's Requiem is an engaging piece that is light on narrative but engaged me with a sad and isolated tone that gave me a lot of the character of Alice without having to tell me a lot, which I appreciated.
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