Photographed with an exquisite eye for interiors and a restless invention, Alpsee stages a boy´s coming of age, that painful rend between infant dependency and mature individuation. Nearly wordless, Müller proceeds by analogy and synecdoche, gathering up precisely framed moments within the home and collecting them as evidence. Its gorgeous chromatic scheme and high key lighting mark a significant departure from Müller´s narrow gauge efforts of the 80s.

(Mike Hoolboom, In: Millenium Film Journal, New York, 1997)

Alpsee conveys complex and intense emotions through the use of simple elements, at the same time reflecting back to a historical period of filmmaking and recalling realities in the Fifties. By stressing the significance of objects, and by its use of colors, Alpsee explores a world of primal instincts. The latent tension between the semantics of violence and solitude on the one hand, and the quiet expression on the other is resolved towards the end where emotions inform the structure of the film. While addressing a distinct historical period of post-war Germany, Alpsee succeeds in presenting very fundamental issues.

(Jury Statement, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 1995)

. . . Despite the seemingly innocuous gestures of household life, a dark, unmanageable world seems to want to erupt from it. At one point it literally does: in a stunning image, the milk the mother pours for her son overflows the glass onto the table, the floor, and eventually down the hall in an endless stream. This uncontrolled secretion, pure white, is disturbingly connected to the enigmatic maternal body. The sparse decor of the home, the primary color scheme, and high key lighting all emphasize the preternatural clarity of the image in Alpsee. As in allegory, the sharp definition of the image belies its opaque, brooding signification. The pristine look of this film thus gives rise to its confusing, nightmarish quality, borne out of its name: the German word for nightmare is Alptraum.

(Alice A. Kuzniar, In: The Queer German Cinema, Stanford 2000)

Orig. Title
15 min
Matthias Müller
Short fiction
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
Alpsee (Image)
Alpsee (Image)
Alpsee (Image)
Matthias Müller
Available Formats
16 mm (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
24 fps
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)