Arianne Labed gives a very accomplished performance in this sexually charged investigation of desire and relationships…
Largely taking place on board a cargo ship Fidelio: Alice’s Journey charts the journey of a female mechanic as she explores lust, desire and the ramifications of fidelity whilst away from her loving partner. What is perhaps most notable here is that the script never privileges Alice’s gender as being particularity noteworthy. We as an audience are perhaps pleasantly surprised to see a woman in such a typically ‘male’ environment as the underbelly of a cargo ship, but it is not something which is commented upon within the film, it simply is. This straightforward and strikingly honest portrayal of gender extends to the film as a whole in which its characters are painted in detail, without playing to stereotypes and without labeling Alice’s lust as anything more complicated or damning that which it is, simply a female’s desire for sex and emotional intimacy.
Upon a brief skim read the script may seem like a simple story about relationships, but underneath is a complex examination of sex, 21st century living and the value we place in our bonds with individuals. Thankfully the film was able to find a lead actress skilled enough to channel all of these questions and realise them on the screen naturally and with dramatic urgency. Here we have a finely controlled and multi-layered performance from Greek-born French actress Ariane Labed which will only serve to cement her reputation as one of the brightest rising stars on the film scene.
Whilst there are certainly criticisms to be made here, such as the parallel story of a dying ship not really quite impacting fully or holding much significance, they pale somewhat when we think about the film as a whole. Despite its occasional slight missteps Fidelio boasts an excellent and well-observed script, a strong supporting cast and an excellent lead performance which demands to be seen. If a story about romantic relationships puts you off for fear of this being a rom-com in disguise then do not fear, this is not a lightweight bit of fluff but instead is a precise and intelligent study of love, sex and perhaps most crucially of all, people.
New Wave Films are releasing Fidelio: Alice’s Journey today (2nd October)! Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!