Alex Taylor’s original feature debut Spaceship is a dreamlike, semi-psychedelic, free-flowing story of teenage cyber goths and alien abductions.
The Kids are Alrightby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
A spaceship is what gets you from one world to another. Like a coming of age. Talented director Alex Taylor’s first feature is a dreamlike, semi-psychedlic, free-flowing story of teenage cyber goths, possible alien abductions and the angst of outsiders trying to find their own world to live in, or a way to live in the world. It makes outstanding use of its eclectic musical soundtrack – even down to an Incredible String Band track, something I never expected to hear in a contemporary film. In fact, the eclectic soundtrack includes Annabel Allum (who also performs in the film), Appaloosa, Best Coast, Sunless 97 and East India Youth.
Teenage Lucidia (Alexa Davies, A Brilliant Young Mind, Raised by Wolves, X+Y, Cuckoo) fakes her abduction by aliens and disappears, leaving her father Gabriel – Finnish actor Antii Reini (The Man Without a Past, Il capitano, Sincerely Yours in Cold Blood) – to search for her among her sub-culture of strange friends in the streets of Guildford who have created their own world, wearing outlandish costumes, some of them obsessed with unicorns and black holes. They include Tallulah Rose Haddon (The Living and the Dead, Taboo, Lara Peake (Bypass, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, soon to be seen at the Cannes Film Festival), Harry Jarvis as a Vampire Boy and Lucien Charles Collier (The Only One Who Knows You’re Afraid, Mike).
It’s set in a swimming pool, an ice rink, a forest, in unearthly stone formations, a club under ultraviolet light that creates beautiful alien patterns on faces, a fairground and various homes, though not in a conventional narrative way. The effect is dreamlike, trippy, a saturation of colour and music, not always explained but eventually with an emotional and joyful resolution.
People disappear from your life – Lucidia’s mother died some years before and her father has to confront this – but they can also reappear, as Lucidia does. In keeping with the free-form structure, Taylor allowed for improvisation in the dialogue, giving his young actors space to let some scenes develop organically. It’s a film of long takes, magic realism and creative collaboration, and it was produced through iFeatures. His next film will be one to watch for.
Alexa Davies was nominated for the Evening Standard New West End Company Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.
Spaceship had its world premiere at SXSW in March 2016, was screened at the 60th London Film Festival and is released on 19 May 2017 in the UK.
Alex Taylor’s short films are available on Vimeo. His first short, Kids Might Fly, won international awards including the Special Jury Prize at SXSW.