Above and Below is a rough and rhythmic roller coaster ride seating five survivors in their daily hustle through an apocalyptic world. A journey of challenges and beauty in uncomfortable places: Rick & Cindy, Godfather Lalo in the flood channels deep down under the shiny strip of Sin City. Dave in the dry and lonesome Californian desert and April in simulation for a Mars mission in the Utah desert. Through the hustle, the pain and the laughs, we are whisked away to an unfamiliar world, yet quickly discover the souls we encounter are perhaps not that different from our own.
Above and Below, Astronauts and sewers
Above and Below confronts us, in its first minutes of introduction, with the unusual contrast of the sub-worlds to which we will submerge next. The creepy walk of a man illuminating with a lantern an immense tunnel and, on the other hand, what would seem at first as a trio of astronauts exploring a Martian territory, appear before our eyes as two scenes impossible to connect.
The second feature film by Swiss director Nicolas Steiner, sculps itself and slowly shows a prism of portraits of human beings rejected by the normalizing civilization. Men and women who scratch extraordinary identities either among the sewers of the city of Las Vegas, or in the endless deserts of the American West.
April, an ex-combatant in Iraq, finds in the red desert of Utah the escape she longs for by exploring its territory dressed in an astronaut costume. Rick, Cindy and Lalo make of the sewers their barricade against outside socialization. Finally, David strives to communicate with God with the objects that he has at hand, isolated in a refuge of the Californian desert. Above and Below is an overwhelming poem, between dystopian and crude in its realism, about the most intimate human exile and the spaces to which it clings.