BFI LFF 2016: SPACESHIP (2016)

Spaceship is a dreamlike, semi-psychedlic, free-flowing story of teenage cyber goths and alien abductions.

Another Planet

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

A spaceship is what gets you from one world to another. 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 imagined I’d hear in this context.

Teenage Lucidia (Alexa Davies, Dusha shpiona, X+Y, Cuckoo) fakes her abduction by aliens and disappears, leaving her father – 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, Lara Peake (Bypass), 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.

Spaceship had its world premiere at SXSW in March 2016 and screened in the Dare section of the London Film Festival in October 2016. Taylor’s short films are available on Vimeo. His first short, Kids Might Fly, won international awards including the Special Jury Prize at SXSW.


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