Alegna by Fraser Rigg

A British soldier returns home from the war in Iraq. Still haunted by his experiences, he struggles with the effects of PTSD.

A young British soldier named Adam returns to his home country after being held captive during the war. But he finds himself haunted by a love that will never happen as he grapples with the darkness and trauma he experienced during his tour of duty.

Writer-director Fraser Rigg’s intensely drawn drama is a deeply compassionate portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with himself and his wartime experiences, as he drifts through his return to civilian life.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome — often accompanied by intense anxiety and depression — is a common condition that affects many soldiers long after their time in the military is done. Despite its prevalence, PTSD is often misunderstood, unseen except to those who experiences this invisible demon. But like other forms of mental illness, it manifests itself through a deep sense of alienation, a difficulty in connecting to others and a feeling that life underneath the placid surface is deeply unsafe and dangerous.

Rigg brings this inner dark wilderness to life, capturing a powerful lead performance full of raw emotion and vulnerability. The evocation of war and capture is equally powerful, showing that the lines between “good” and “bad” are often dependent on perspective.

Shot on super 16mm film, the often handheld visuals use shadow and texture to capture a sense of a darkness caving in on a man grappling with the shadowy corners of his inner life.The result is both a visceral sense of brute realism and a painterly use of light and darkness that allows an audience to experience what it’s like to come in from a war, into a world that feels removed, distant and frightening in its own way.

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