In a dystopian near future, two men travel in their van where they pick up dead bodies that they find. To pass the time they recall stories of people whose lives have been changed irreversibly and how one simple thing can happen to destroy everything that they have.
Undergods is a film that compiles several stories with interweaving themes of sudden changes forcing their characters to lose it all and with characters that appear among those different stories.
Filmed in several places in Europe including Sweden, Estonia and Serbia, Chino Moya has written and directed a film that has a grounded and all too familiar feel to its characters and settings, albeit with an unnerving undertone that something isn’t quite right.
Stories of families being torn apart and people being undermined and losing everything feel like commentary on our lives today and perhaps not so much in the distant future.
The first of the tales involves a couple who let a stranger stay the night after he’s locked out of his flat, only for him to outstay his welcome. Another tells about an inventor whose work is overlooked and decides to take matters into his own hands. Finally, a story about a man who’s ousted from his family due to a new arrival may feel fantastical at first, but it evokes feelings of loss, desperation and anger as lives spiral out of control.
The look and feel of Undergods is visually striking, but with a gloomy coat of paint that dampens the spirits of all the characters and that may very well be what Moya may be trying to achieve. The fact that all the supposed victims in Moya’s stories are all middle-aged men may also be a comment on how change can affect those who think they have it all.
Moya’s directorial debut is an ambitious and well thought out affair which talks about the world we live in now and where we may be heading, although most audiences may not realise the subtleties of the stories. However, although some of them may feel unfinished, the potential is there for Chino Moya to go on and make great stories.
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