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Alchemy of the Spirit

USA 2022
produced by
Fahad Alhumaid, Hanuman Brown-Eagle, Nathanael Lentz, Jake Jackson, Matthew Garrett (executive), Beth Anne Branden (executive), Eric Barton (executive) for Dikenga Films, Freetykee Media, B'alam Entertainment
directed by Steve Balderson
starring Xander Berkeley, Sarah Clarke, Mink Stole, Whip Hubley, Matthew Delamater, Alex Coppola, Jule Selbo
story by Steve Balderson, Elliot Diviney, Elizabeth Spear, screenplay by Steve Balderson, Xander Berkeley, Sarah Clarke, music by Heather Turney Schmidt, paintings, sculptures & artwork by Xander Berkeley

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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One morning, artist Oliver (Xander Berkeley) wakes up to find his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke) lying dead by his side, obviously she has passed on her sleep. For him this is an earth-shattering loss that leaves him so devastated that he can't even call the authorities to take her body away but he puts her on ice in his bath tub. It's not long though before Evelyn returns to Oliver, or at least her spirit does - or does she just do so in his imagination? But whatever it is, Oliver doesn't want to lose her again and wants to spend every moment with her, now that he has realized how fleeting life can be. Now he has always been a bit of a recluse, but now he retreats from the outside world even more, so much so that he fears any intrusion into his microcosm. And then his agent (Mink Stole) calls and orders a new art installation that will be the central piece of a big art exhibition - and might be the breakthrough he has waited for all his life. But what to create when his thoughts are with Evelyn pretty much 24/7?

 

Playing with elements of the macabre, of horror and of magical realism, Alchemy of the Spirit is basically a film about grief, about coping and about not letting go - and despite its deliberately very slow pace, it's a film that gradually sucks one in, mainly because despite all of its paranormal elements it feels honest and real, and it puts its sad premise into a very artful context ... plus, Mink Stole adds the proper colourful counterpoints whenever needed, while both Sander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke give properly down-to-earth performances the audience can really relate to, making this into a rather fascinating little film.

 

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