4 REVIEWS


For half a dozen years now, many pundits and politicians have been transfixed by the idea that Moscow is manipulating our national psyche. Antero Alli’s movie “Tracer”, streaming on YouTube and available on DVD from Original Falcon Press starting Septmber 21st, offers a more literal spinon that idea: In this science-fiction scenario, a designer drug allows Russian agents to actually enter the dreams of others. But these dream-hacking conspiracies aren’t aimed at altering American politics—the Russian mafia has gotten its hands on the technology, and it has its own targets to pursue.

Alli has been making low-budget independent pictures like this for about three decades, and before that he attracted a cult following for his experimental stage plays and his New Age–adjacent books on such topics as Timothy Leary’s eight-circuit model of the human mind. (Indeed, Leary’s theory is a plot point in Tracer.) At their best, his movies achieve a psychedelic naturalism: stories where ordinary human struggles confront intrusions from a more occult dimension. In this case, the naturalistic parts involve the dynamics of a fractured Oregon family and the intruder is a clairvoyant mobster.

The movie has a political side, but it’s character-driven, not agenda-driven. The protagonist’s ex-girlfriend is possibly schizophrenic, possibly psychic feminist. And his dad is a Trump-voting acidhead—not because Russians have hacked the old sailor’s mind, but because, well, if you hang around the Oregon coast awhile, you just might meet a guy like that.

Jesse Walker
REASON magazine. Nov 2022


 

Indie auteur Antero Alli makes films like no other. Each new offering can be counted on to surprise, emerging from his radical process with welcome frequency thanks to a tireless creative drive.  His films seldom, if ever, conform to genre expectations – with, perhaps, the exception of the hybrid genre he’s created over the course of a highly inventive filmmaking career. Yet he bills Tracer as ‘noir suspense’. And noir applies, given that Tracer probes the dark side of the psyche. 

The women in Tracer hold the wisdom, share old trauma, bear witness – a recurring theme through Alli’s work – while the men seem irresponsible, self-unaware, blind to consequences. Conscious of the outer world, asleep to the inner, they depend on drugs to enter altered states, whether for settling scores, like the tracer, soul-searching in Leo’s case, or, for aimless Erik, recreation.  The standout performer in Tracer, Kasia Caravello, brings talent, riveting onscreen presence and method training together. Douglas Allen, the brilliant dancer in Alli’s last two films, here displays a comic bent as the tracer and keeps us guessing. Sage Reilly as the 8-Circuit Man, local distributor of C-9, with dazzle makeup and voice distortion to mask his identity, exudes online menace. And then, there's West Ramsey as Deadman whose droll gesturing oozes professionalism. The music, so integral to Alli's vision, of various artists including the divine Sylvi Alli and himself, are all worthy of far wider recognition.

As Alli writes in his vision statement: ‘Like many others, I have been concerned by the ubiquitous surveillance culture across the USA and beyond…’ And Big Tech isn’t just tracking us but hacking us, our consciousness, as more and more of life moves online. Easy enough to feel concern; harder to take action. Yet Alli is collaboratively offering an alternative: escape into reality vs. the way out paved by most screen entertainment.

Having seen all of Alli’s features now, I wouldn’t say his MO varies hugely. Outsider art, aka art brut, might seem an odd comparison. Created beyond the margins of the dominant culture, and unknown until a century ago, it inspired the Surrealists (who inspired some of Alli’s icons). Typically self-taught, outsiders work apart from the mainstream.What Alli shares with the most original marginal visionaries – the real deal, not their clones showcased at international art fairs or in glossy coffee-table quarterlies – is rawness of expression, psychic immediacy.

(Edited for brevity and omission of spoilers. - AA)
read the entire review at OBESERVER OF TIMES
October 9, 2022. Australia


 

"Our world is blighted by war, battered by climate chaos, scarred by hate, and shamed by
poverty, hunger, and inequality."
António Guterres, Secretary-General – September 14, 2022
(This quote is not from the movie, though, it came to mind after watching Tracer. Brett Fletcher)

What topic matter can we find, concretely or abstractly, woven into Antero Alli's latest movie, "Tracer"?
• Schizophrenia
• Psychics
• Damaged relationships
• Remote Viewing
• Hitman
• Spies
• Acid heads
• Gun runners
• hallucinogens
• Russian Mafia
• A world in trouble

The performance by Douglas Allen as the Tracer is superb and sublime. My favorite acting performance of any character in the films of Antero Alli. Intriguing and dark, with a mission to be executed. A designer hallucinogenic called C9, a step up the rungs of Jacob’s Ladder from the previous step, C8, or The Eight-Circuit, a reference to many things: a book and course by Antero Alli, relating to Dr. Timothy Leary and appearing in the film as “The Eight Circuit Man,” played by Sage Reilly: "Effective dose is just 100 milligrams, the lethal dose is only 300 milligrams." A death trip?

Are you with me so far? It is black and white, which adds to the overall artistic feel of the film. All acting performances are enjoyable and well-casted by Antero, not all to be mentioned in a brief review. Though I did want to say, Polly, portrayed by Kasia Caravello, Erik's (Benjamin Ervin) ex, is a psychic, schizophrenic, or both. You decide. There are many topics (if not all) that I can personally relate to in Tracer, though none are more relatable to me personally than the character Polly, as compared with my ex... but I digress.

There are no disappointments regarding the special effects we have come to expect from a film by Antero Alli, as well as subtle reminders of the brilliant filmmaker David Lynch. Few films continue to flash in my mind like this one; maybe, given the diverse topic matter, it could be comparable to flashbacks from LSD 25. For example, the neon Hotel sign reminds a dedicated Antero Alli fan of his unforgettable movie, Flamingos (2012).

Conclusion:
This is perhaps my favorite Antero Alli movie to date. Douglas Allen as Tracer is my favorite character of all the many characters presented to us by Antero over the years. My oh my, how my life has changed since viewing my first Antero Alli film, and how my life was enhanced by taking his Angel Tech - Eight-Circut Brain course. Great movie, topic matter(s), and performances by the eclectic cast of characters. It is definitely worth the view, and even more importantly, it is worth contemplating such lines as, "The future of the earth belongs to people with good hearts." I do not want to leave out the concerns of Polly, the destruction of things beautiful by creatures who are less attractive. Whether psychic, schizophrenic or both, what we need in today's climate is peace, love, caring, and concern, as outdated and silly as that might sound. One final note: The music of Antero and Sylvi Alli is another highlight in this extraordinary movie.

Peace and Love,
Brett Fletcher, Founder of Trinity Mount Ministries
Santa Clara CA


 

TRACER is fascinating, deep and disturbing. After watching it the first time, I found its images lingering in my mind, especially those of Leo, whose longtime attempt to run from Russian mafia is coming to an end, and he knows it. Maybe because I’m getting older, his situation moved me most, his being forced to finally face his past selves. The theme of psychopathic patriarchy crumbling is timely, presented in Trump-Man Leo finally acknowledging his greed, his male unfeelingness, his being wrapped up in the predatory “hungry monster dividing the planet” mode that justifies itself with that old psychopath’s confounding adage: “Nothing personal. It’s just business.”

The film is softened by placing male rigidity in contrast with the women, who are deeper into the work. Polly recovering her deeper parts: “I don’t need meds when I can feel my body deeply.” And Corinna, the crone, who has already traversed her shadow, healing her own trauma of abandoning her son, brought on by Leo. Her healing enables her to mentor Polly. It strikes me that it’s only the men who take the drugs, needing the extra push to merge worlds. And it’s men who have defined psychic abilities as madness. Leo takes C9 and finally feels deeply, crying for Erik.

I love the overlapping dimensions, some brought on by drugs, others brought in by psychics, all communicating in the same realms through their own means. The film’s shadowy and reflective atmosphere nicely reinforces the theme of Leo exploring his shadow self. Dim rooms, underground tunnels, reflections in the storm door. Leo’s face half in light, half in shadow. Same with the murdered Russian—sitting in the shadow of a parasol amidst the bright sun. Amazing parasol shots, by the way, just gorgeous chiaroscuro. “This is not a dream and it is a dream. . . dream, reality it does not matter.” All of it framed for our rational minds by the Leary material.

The photography is stunning. The drip of water sliding plop down the drinking glass. The ship pushing out at night: the glistening water made it look like the ship was sailing into the stars. And the imagery of trickster Tracer's crazy puppet dance—I’ve never seen insect moves like his. Images like these stick with me.

TRACER is a powerful, deep film.

James Lough, Savannah GA
Former Consulting Editor, ArtPulse Magazine



 


Polly (Kasia Caravello) recovers from her psychic trance

"VISION STATEMENT"

STILLS FROM THE FILM

PREVIEW (VIEWER) RESPONSES

ANTERO ALLI -- FILMOGRAPHY