Alien Food

  • 108'
  • Italy
  • 2023

A touching, unexpected friendship anchors this stark, first-person window into psychosis – blurring the lines between reality and hallucination, fantasy and terror.

In Alien Food, filmmaker Giorgio Cugno plays his own lead character Alberto, based on years spent in therapeutic communities. After a long period of residential treatment for bipolar disorder, Alberto (40) moves in with a new foster family, where he meets Vicky (12): a fellow outsider bullied for her obsession with UFOs. When Vicky notices Alberto secretly throwing away his medication, the two confide in each other. Their growing bond and Vicky’s escapism into science fiction help ground Alberto – even as he loses his own grip on reality. That descent plays out on a knife edge. Alberto becomes ever more lost in eerie delusions of intimacy with strangers: obsessing over photos and videos stolen off customers’ hard drives at his computer repair job. Meanwhile, we confront Alberto’s escalating nightmares and hallucinations, previously held at bay by his meds.

Yet despite these threats of horror, Alien Food clings warmly to its central relationship. That contrast makes darker moments more unsettling, but also the predominating lighter moments much brighter – asserting hope for someone stuck between terror of the world and a desire to embrace it.

 

Callum McLean

Director
Giorgio Cugno
Premiere
World premiere
Countries of production
Italy, Denmark
Year
2023
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
108'
Medium
DCP
Language
Italian
Producers
Giorgio Cugno, Valeria Richter
Production Companies
Ganglio Film, Nordic Factory
Sales
Ganglio Film
Screenplay
Giorgio Cugno
Cinematography
Igor Nogougic
Editor
Giorgio Cugno
Production Design
Giorgio Cugno
Sound Design
Peter Albrechtsen, Guglielmo Francavilla, Daniele Giario
Music
Smokefade
Cast
Giorgio Cugno, Victoria Mannoni, Gabriele Rossi, Simonetta Ainardi