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Andrew Legge has been – so far – the best kept secret of Irish cinema. All his short films, starting with 1902 (2001), announced great things. And with every film (because these are his short films), Legge has continued to give shape and body to his very particular poetics. Like some ancient alchemist, he has been able to intertwine the suggestions of the fantasy of an author like Karel Zeman by interfacing it with the urgency of the steampunk imaginary. He reinvented Ray Harryhausen's cinema by playing with the memories of pre-cinema and the magic lantern. Legge is more than a ‘director’: he is the bearer of a vision. Of a world, in short. LOLA, his first feature film, is a reckless act of love for cinema and the power of image creation. Two girls create a machine that manages to intercept the future thus becoming a fundamental element in the war against the Third Reich. But what if the Nazis manage to sabotage their broadcasts? Legge creates a poignant steampunk science fiction novel; a ukronia as Philip K. Dick may have imagined, wrapping it in a series of irresistible references to pop culture in a strictly retro-futurist vein. Without revealing anything of the many chapters of the story and its twists, LOLA offers itself as an absolutely original reflection on the many ways in which history can be (re)written. All it takes to change destiny is to change a setting and a completely alternative narrative to the official one emerges from nowhere. An amused and ironic essay on post-truth, LOLA stages a world reduced to pure narration and staging. The way in which Legge works with archival materials by opposing them to the protagonists of the film is nothing short of dizzying. History is thus reduced to an infinitely modular whole. LOLA confirms and revives all that was good in Andrew Legge's short films. His tireless inventiveness, never an end in itself, is at the service of the story and of a vision of the world that reflects all too accurately the regurgitations of history which we witness today. A work that will leave its mark, LOLA. Once upon a time we would have said that a cult film was born. Nothing, however, stops us from repeating it today. LOLA is a film we'll hear a lot about. And so is Andrew Legge.
Giona A. Nazzaro