Director: José Pedro Lopes
Cast: Daniela Love, Jorge Mota, Mafalda Banquart
Production Company: Anexo 82
Runtime: 71 minutes
For a person contemplating suicide, sadness seems to last forever. It’s depressing to think how many people actually make this very final choice. Director José Pedro Lopes takes on this controversial topic in his film The Forest of the Lost Souls (2017).
In the movie, a remote forest is Portugal’s number one location for those choosing to commit suicide. Two strangers meet in the woods with somewhat similar objectives. However, things don’t exactly go as planned. Something far more sinister is at work here…
Unfortunately, Portugal actually has a real problem with suicide, which has spiked in recent years. This is the backstory that sadly makes certain events in the film all the more believable. The movie addresses some of the reasons for suicide before going off in a different direction.
The character’s discussions on the subject are often sophisticated and even connect to scholarly references. Dialogue that refers to the preparations required for such a choice, and the willingness to go through with the act are among the film’s most compelling.
Daniela Love from Empress of the Evil Dead (2012) is absorbing in the role of Carolina. She shows the most range over the course of the movie. Jorga Mota is also very distinctive as the suicidal man that she encounters in the forest. He can be caring and thoughtful despite his frame of mind.
The Forest of the Lost Souls is a Portuguese-language film that is entirely shot in black and white. The choice to avoid colour seems to add to the emptiness of the character’s lives. It’s easy to see the sadness that dwells within them in this grey and dreary world.
Dialogue is kept to a minimum, appearing only when needed, or to develop a certain point of view. The movie is much more about the visuals, which are often mournful and striking. In fact, some shots are intentionally haunting and meant to stay with you long after the movie ends.
The sound direction and original music by Emanuel Grácio is very effective. The soundtrack adds a lot to the somber attitude of the proceedings. The Forest of the Lost Souls is moody and atmospheric, with the kind of twist and turns you’d find in a giallo film.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…