CITYWIDE


Extraterrestrial (Extraterreste), by Nacho Vigalondo
June 15, 2012, 2:08 am
Filed under: Film | Tags: , , ,

“Who is the extraterrestrial? who needs to leave at the end?” asks Nacho Vigalondo of the characters in his second feature film, Extraterrestrialpremiering this week at Brooklyn’s Gastropub theater on Friday, June 15th as well as online on demand. His film orbits around a cast of five players. It begins with a man and a woman in their late twenties waking up next to each other not remembering what they’d done the night before, much less the others’ names. Also, aliens have invaded and the city of Madrid seems to have been abandoned by all except a creepy neighbor, a passionate ex-boyfriend, and an ominous television broadcaster. Not much more can be said about the film’s plot as its twists are abundant to the point that it is impossible to guess what’s going to happen next at any given time. Still Vigalondo leaves enough reference points to allow a narratively complex film to flow fairly smoothly. Here’s how we review new and original filmmaking on Citywide-

Extraterrestrial stars Michelle Jenner and Julián Villagrán

If you like Science Fiction-

This movie is for you. That is, if you like Science Fiction for the right reasons. This isn’t a movie about aliens, or the future, or computers, or dystopias though this movie includes some aspect of just about all of those. Most Sci-Fi does without being about one or the other. These aspects that seem to characterize the Science Fiction “genre” are used to create unique social and metaphysical scenarios. Nacho Vigalondo does so in this movie. He uses the situation to isolate a set of characters into a scenario that asks the specific questions he chooses to ask. For instance, Nacho says “In this movie, characters find the advantages of Earth being invaded by aliens… [for instance], ‘Ok I’m in love with this girl, but she’s married, but now that there’s aliens everywhere you can find yours of having sex with her,” on the other hand, I want it to be realistic on this point… if you have a toothache and the end of the world comes, you still have a toothache.”
Nacho feels that Science Fiction is falsely classified as a genre. He remarks that belonging to a genre implies subscribing to a certain set of rules. As in, a Slasher film is a Slasher film because it involves a killer stalking a set of people with a knife. A Western is a Western because it contains cowboys and outlaws. In contrast, Science Fiction does not confine stories to rules, but is used to liberate stories from the laws of reality. Think Philip K. Dick (who Nacho actually attributes his beard and desire to go bald to). So, if you like this brand of Science Fiction, this movie is for you. However-

If you like alien invasion movies-

Check your expectations. Hype for Extraterrestrial might lead audiences to expect something like Monsters (2010), by Gareth Edwards or District 9 which adeptly combine sophisticated and original melodrama with sci-fi thriller action. Extraterrestrial has its share of explosions compared to your standard rom-com, but you will be disappointed if you come expecting non-stop action violence. That being said, this film is plenty rife with suspense. It doesn’t have to lean on the spectacle of special effects because of its many plot twists and unexpected events. A lesser director could try the same thing and have it seem contrived. Vigalondo creates a setting so outrageous and extreme, it seems pointless to question its believability.

If you like romantic comedies-

Though this is a Spanish film the jokes and romance do not get lost in translation. It’s a moving film, but its conceptual nature gives it a certain level of detachment. The inter-personal drama and humor in this movie are strong enough to keep it grounded.

If you have ever wanted the whole city to yourself-

You can inhabit this movie.

If you want to watch this movie-

June 15th-
Brooklyn, NY at the Gastopub Theater
Seattle, WA at the Uptown Theater

June 22nd-
North Hollywood, CA at Laemmle’s Noho 7

and throughout Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Texas through June.

However, if you do not live in any of these areas you can get a screening in your hometown through Tugg right here. Or you can watch it On Demand here.

If you like Nachos-

Here’s a guy named Nacho:

This is our interview:

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Paul%20William.mp3]

Lucas Green

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