CPH:DOX Review: Atlantide

Venice is a city with many attractions, but it’s probably best known as the most romantic city in Europe. That and its intricate system of canals, rich and eye-catching history and famous lagoon. There’s nowhere else quite like it. And don’t tourists know it. They flock to the north of Italy in increasing numbers every year, putting a terrible strain on the tenuous environment and infrastructure. However, there’s another side to the place often heralded as the most beautiful city in the world.

Sant’Erasmo is no match for the tourist mecca of Piazza San Marco but it provides the playground for a group of hedonistic adolescents who spend their time swimming, getting high or messing about on speedboats. For Daniele, an outsider, the latter offers him a way to work his way up the local hierarchy. He’s dedicated to racing and winning, at any cost. He provides the fulcrum of Yuri Ancarani’s docu-fiction Atlantide (Atlantis).

Named after Plato’s lost kingdom, Atlantide is a hallucinatory voyage into a neon underworld. One full of unearthly pleasures but daily ennui. Ancarani’s style is unusual, staging interludes around the lives of non-actors he observed. Using their experiences and framing them within a disjointed and loose narrative. It works quite well, especially the almost dreamlike race sequence, but the strange and oddly incongruous ending leaves an odd taste.

Atlantide screens at CPH:DOX.

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