by Katie Hogan
One of the gems of last year’s BFI London Film Festival, Spaceship is quite literally out of this world. If out of this world is somewhere random in England. Alex Taylor’s debut feature film gives the impression it could be experimental with its multiple view points, unflattering angles, and the strange eerie feeling that this is all for someone else’s pleasure. But Taylor‘s film is about how we all live in our little worlds and how the teenagers of the story draw in those around them.
Lucidia is teenage cyber-goth living in her own world. She wants her Father’s attention, who hasn’t been the same since the loss of her Mother. Following in the footsteps of other teenagers who claimed they were abducted by aliens, Lucidia suddenly disappears. Her father, Gabriel, an archeologist, is absorbed into the worlds of her strange and unusual friends while trying to find his daughter. Thoughts, dreams and nightmares are shared from person to person, some are a fixture whereas others are in the background but are as important, even just for a moment.
Lucidia is the focus of the story; she begins everyone’s odd journey by disappearing. Her disappearance is questionable and it is unclear whether she fakes her temporary abduction or if she really did vanish through strobe lights, smoke and water. As her mother drowned, there is a haze that surrounds the swimming pool, which is where she also makes her alien like exit. The points of view switch from character to character, most often to Gabriel who wants to find his daughter despite having ignored her most of the time. Lucidia’s weird and wonderful friends – Alice, who keeps her partner on a chain and Tegan who becomes obsessed with a photograph of Lucida’s mother – share their sometimes off topic thoughts through slow motion and voiceover. These moments brake up the story and stop it from overloading in one direction. Shifting the focus throughout the film is one of the aspects that makes the film stand out from other ‘teenage’ stories and letting the characters go wild makes each character feel like they are the stars of the show rather than Lucidia.
There is a common feeling that most of the characters share but don’t always express. The need to escape runs through each world we’re invited into, and the promise that there is something out there to run to. Tegan is obsessed with black holes and the other characters all have their own ideas about escapism, whether its through drugs or finding a cave with a dancing man inside. However Lucidia literally does escape, if just for a short while.
Written and directed by Taylor, it may be a difficult story structure for some to follow but once you open your mind to all the possibilities out there, you can quickly find yourself immersed into this otherworldly story.
Dir: Alex Taylor
Prd: Nicola Bowen, Olivier Kaempfer
Scr: Alex Taylor
Cast: Antti Reini, Alexa Davies, Lara Peak, Lucian Charles Collier, Tallulah Haddon, Steven Elder, Jack Winthrop, Kristof Gerega, Harry Jarvis
DoP: Liam Iandoli
Running Time: 86 minutes
Spaceship will be released in cinemas 19th May 2017.