Saturday, September 24, 2011
TIFF 2011 - Nacho Vigalondo's EXTRATERRESTRIAL/EXTRATERRESTRE
Man, is Nacho "Timecrimes" Vigalondo someone to watch. I loved Timecrimes, found it a shining example of what is coming to be called "low-fi sci-fi"* before I knew that was a thing. When I saw the director had a new film at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, I jumped up and down and put it at the top of my must-see list and promptly totally forgot what it was even supposed to be about.
In my opinion, that is the best state of mind in which to see a film.
I was, therefore, pretty unprepared to spend near two hours laughing my head off at what at bottom is really a first-rate romantic farce with trace science fiction elements. Yes, there are UFOs, depicted as hovering menacingly over every major city, but this is far from a conventional alien invasion story; the menace merely turns a handful of neighbors loose on each other in an atmosphere of heightened paranoia, suspicion and opportunistic teepee-creeping.
Carlos Areces, whom I swear I have seen before but whose IMDB entry contains nothing else familiar to me, comes damned close to stealing this show as the leading lady's obsessive, stalkerish neighbor. He's part of an amazing cast that Vigalondo wisely trusted to carry off some amazing scenes, including a Mogambo-esque drunken dinner party in which very little is actually said but everything is communicated, hilariously for we, the audience, in the know.
Since this was TIFF, Vigalondo was there for the screening and a Q&A afterwards, one of the most entertaining I've ever seen. This is a guy who loves making films and has a lot of energy; he hopped all over the stage and joked with us about [SPOILER ALERT] how he has big plans for the promotion of the sequel, Extraterrestrial 2: Now With Extraterrestrials. Man, do I dig this guy.
*Which I would define, pulling said definition out of thin air, as science fiction that does not rely on special effects or overly on an overtly science fictional plot to achieve its storytelling.
Again, I have included Paul's and my Audioboo from the day we saw this:
Posted by Kate Sherrod at 7:26 AM