A Voyage Through Paranoia, Video Style
A Review by Justin Sanders for the PORTLAND MERCURY, October 17th, 2002

Of all artistic mediums, only video is automatically associated with both kinky sex and poignant family time. It is thus mystifying that writer/director, Antero Alli, consciously chooses to make all his feature-length movies on video. It probably has something to do with fighting the man, with refusing to stoop to the level of mainstream filmmakers by using such a base, frill-laden material as film. It probably isn't because he is too broke to purchase film. He is an accomplished and talented filmmaker who could surely dredge up the money for more expensive productions were he so inclined. He's not inclined, though, and so continues to make feature-length video movies that look terrible and cheap, but that are still gripping--even mesmerizing--thanks to the power of his storytelling ability.

Hysteria is the latest addition to his video legacy. It tells the story of an obsessive Croatian boxer, Ikar (Jakob Bokulich) who comes to America to fulfill a religious mission that he believes was assigned to him by the Virgin Mary while he was camped out in an old church during the Serb-Croatian War. One of the first movies to be set post-9/11, Hysteria achieves the nifty feat of addressing the paranoia that surrounded that day without exploiting it. Ikar is a terrorist who wishes to do harm in the name of religion, but who has arrived at that conclusion internally, with no influence or pressure from outside groups or causes. How do you stop someone like that? How do you find them? All the technology in the world won't trace a person who doesn't leave any tracks. Hysteria drives this point home with slow, meticulous grace. The development of its protagonist's horrific plan is not maniacal, but careful, even gentle. Alli's movie will prove to the skeptics that though video may be ass-ugly, it can also reach a kind of elegance, and it can definitely profoundly disturb.

ANTERO ALLI, filmography


CAST and CREW (credits)