During a drug raid a group of policemen find themselves trapped in a nightmare, the third zone of Dante's ninth circle of Hell.
I had the pleasure of viewing another German/English language screener personally from filmmaker Kevin Kopacka. Here the Austrian director offers another dark moody psychological visual 32 minute short. The preceding opening with a horrific story of the fate of a young boy which is followed by a flick though the sounds, voices and static of a radio station of 99.9, Kopacka's prequel to Hades - TLMEA is more street than its predecessor, following a sullen group of swat and undercover police (poliza). Blurred images, shadows on red, troubled sleep with unnatural lighting, flashy editing that cuts to the hyper real moments as the director takes us through on screen title cards beginning with segments subtitled Limbo and Lust.
TLMEA unfolds with the harsh reverberating, at times melodic music by Aiko Aiko as we go further into the subtitled levels and themes, Animosity, (Greed reflected on the TV), Malice, Heresy, Violence, level 1,2, 3 and so on; we seep into the Twin Peaks dreamlike mind of our chain smoking protagonist with a cancelled TV show, Johnny Arson, showing on the TV sets in scenes possibly reflecting society imitating art and sensationalising horror and vice-versa.
Amongst the array of unconventional yet wonderfully abstract coloured lighting (reminiscent of Revolver) there some great effects by Tim Scheidig as a character turns to ice (reflecting Dante's penalty for the damned) and we are introduced to more hallucinatory themes subtitled Fraud and later Treachery.
Time and effort has clearly been pumped into this production. The acting is first rate, the excellent Anna Heidegger appears briefly (reprising her Hades role). Author/producer H.K. DeWitt also appears. As with Kopacka's other work the narrative is up for interpretation, no doubt a mainstream interesting feature script awaits (wow, I'd love this team to option one of my novels). As a standalone mystery thriller short it may not have the nightmarish impact of Hades but as a companion piece they compliment and complete each other perfectly.
As mentioned running through the underbelly of the short is the nine circles of Hell (Dante's Inferno). These dreamlike nightlife images, have a contradicting visual clarity as our lead Cris Kotzen as Schweitzer unloads a gun bringing the state of mind to a close, Tolomea after 'Ptolomea', conjuring Minos (interestingly played by rapper/artist Ufo361).
If visually surreal rides are your thing, this is compulsory late night viewing.