Hades is a short experimental film from Berlin created by newcomer Kevin Kopacka, loosely based on a short story, Statusbezogen, by H.K. Dewitt. A woman is caught up in an endless dream and must pass the five rivers of Hades (metaphorically speaking). Kopacka's only other directorial work is the short film entitled For Those Who Still Exist, a mystery documentary rather different to the work he has done for Hades.
Kopacka gives this story a nice modern aesthetic with an odd yet interesting style. There is no dialogue in this short; it's purely aesthetic with imagery and music. The colour palette is very lovely with all its pinks, greens and blues, and it forms a very urban and contemporary style, though having said that, the tone also has a very giallo approach. The costume and shooting style also remind us of Italian slasher films. Kopacka actually filmed in Super 8 for the flashback scenes, which is a wonderful way to break up the scenes and add a sense of dismay much like giallo films as well as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The long corridors, the locked doors and ominous figures in the background all scream classic slasher. We can assume that Kopacka does have an appreciation for The Shining as the movie poster can be seen in the back ground.
The music and sound design again is odd, though the main choice of song fits in perfectly. Be My Baby, originally written by P. Spector, J. Barry and E. Greenwich, has been reworked and performed by Kopocka himself to play into the film. It's a much more eerie version of the song that flows throughout the film in flashback and dream sequences, working really well and creating a chilling atmosphere. There are, however, certain sound designs that feel a little off in timing; it's not building enough tension so it doesn't quite create that unnerving feeling it's supposed to.
Kopacka ends the film with ambiguity; he manages to show you everything without showing anything. It's simple and that's what makes this film so beautiful to watch. He shows that a story can be told without Hollywood magic but with pure filming and storytelling talent. Hades has been doing great in the festival circuit, and it will be interesting to see Kopacka come back with a feature, hopefully in a similar style and genre.
HADES / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: KEVIN KOPACKA / STARRING: ANNA HEIDEGGER, CHRIS KOTZE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW