The Forest of Lost Souls/A Floresta das Almas Perdidas
Written and Directed by: José Pedro Lopes
Cast: Daniela Love as Carolina, Jorge Mota as Ricardo, Mafalda Banquart as Filipa, Ligia Roque as Joana
“’Sadness will last forever.’ That’s what Van Gogh said to his brother Theo before he died. For Nietzsche, the thought of suicide was a great comfort, a haven by which one could survive bad nights. Maybe that’s why, every year, dozens of people come here. Far away from everything and everyone, so that sadness ends.”
This is a beautifully done black and white film from Portugal. The scenes are crisp and stunning making this alone worth watching the film. While the story itself starts out rather slowly you soon realize all is not what it seems as it moves subtly into a dramatic climax. The language spoken is Portuguese but the English subtitles are easily read and don’t interfere with the viewing. What begins with all the makings of an arthouse film ends with the gore of a top-rate slasher flick.
The forest is located in a fictional area of Portugal where people go to end the sadness that never goes away. It is here where Carolina meets an older man named Ricardo. There is only one reason to be in the forest and they each have a story to tell. While Ricardo may justify to himself the taking of his life, he cannot accept someone as young as Carolina wanting to commit suicide.
As they walk together through the forest and talk of their desires and loss, it soon becomes apparent that they have different agendas and only one of them will fulfill their mission, the other… oh, their agenda has nothing to do with ending their life.
A psycho killer walks the forest helping along those who want the sadness to end, reaching out and destroying the connecting lives so the sadness does not live on. Truly, this is a brilliantly done film that is so worth watching. Check out the trailer and add to your list of must-sees!
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh