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HomeentertainmentMovie News'Problemista' Review: Tilda Swinton and Julio Torres Glamor in Delightfully Surreal Debut

'Problemista' Review: Tilda Swinton and Julio Torres Glamor in Delightfully Surreal Debut

In Julio Torres delightfully surreal debut Problemista, a boy is eager to finish what appears to be Impossible encounter with a woman who never thought her request was impossible. What an unlikely pair they make: Alejandro (Torres), an aspiring toy designer desperate to get a work visa, and Elizabeth ( Tilda Swinton )), a widowed art critic frantically trying to protect her husband’s estate. Gentle and reserved, he is easily swayed by the harsh challenges of the world. She is demanding, disaffected, and no one has ever said “no” to her in her life.

Their first encounter was an accident. Rejection from Hasbro’s talent incubator program forced Alejandro, a recent immigrant from El Salvador, to find a job at a human cryogenic freezing company overseeing cadavers — lest he lose his visa. His mission is to look after the body of Elizabeth’s husband Bobby (RZA). They were hastily introduced during a visit in which an angry Elizabeth swept up like a hurricane challenging a bill. Her presence radiates stress and agitation, disrupting other employees. Alejandro found her very interesting.


Bottom line Very enjoyable.

Location: SXSW Film Festival (Headline News) Cast: Julio Torres, Tilda Swinton, RZA, Ivy Sabella Rossellini, Larry Owens

Director and Screenwriter: Julio Torres 1 hour38 minute

Their next encounter was purely accidental. Alejandro was unceremoniously fired by management after tripping over a wire and temporarily disconnecting Bobby’s body chamber from an outlet. At the same time as he is fired, Elizabeth is at it again – the bill is still being debated and her patience is wearing thin. When he helped her move Bobby’s paintings from the Freezing Company’s storage room back to his studio, she enlisted him to curate a gallery exhibition of her late husband’s exquisite egg paintings. With no options, no curation experience or working knowledge of the database software FileMaker Pro, Alejandro agreed to the job.

They named the show “Thirteen Eggs” – literally the number of egg paintings Bobby left in Elizabeth’s care before freezing himself for the future. These large, richly colored still lifes depict eggs in motion and in stillness, hiding behind thick curtains and basking in the shade of wine glasses. Alejandro and Elisabeth talk about them in the humorous and poetic terms of the art world.

These paintings form one of several ironic and charming threads in Problemista, a A confident debut whose surreal ambitions never weaken its heart. Torres, former SNL writer and creator of the disappointingly short-lived HBO comedy Los Espookys, Using his unique aesthetic to construct a sensitive and sharp self-realization story.

Problemista unfolds in its own universe, unencumbered by the logic of our world. Torres, who also wrote the screenplay, immerses us in his vision: Isabella Rossellini’s voice-over lures us back in time, where we learn about Alejandro’s relationship with his attentive artist mother, Dolores Alejandro’s (Catharina Saavedra) imaginative and sheltered childhood; DP Fredrik Wenzel’s photography takes us inside Alejandro’s ) in the verdant childhood home of El Salvador, then takes us to the gray, trash-strewn streets of Brooklyn where the young artist now lives; Moment pushed to another moment.

The film begins with the fantasy storybook quality of a Wes Anderson film, then slides into the contours of a workplace comedy reminiscent of a novel like Ling Ma’s Severance (unrelated to the TV show) and Raven Leilani’s Luster . Scenes of Alejandro filming a video resume or checking in with his manager during his brief stint in the cryogenic lab capture the stiffness and discomfort heightened by office politics.

Before we get too comfortable with that register, Problemista morphs again. Now, here’s a hilarious but sobering look at the demoralized US immigration system. Then there’s a portrait of despair, as Alejandro struggles to find work that will help him pay immigration fees and rent. Later, it turns into a heartfelt story of his and Elizabeth’s friendship blossoming.

The two started lukewarmly. This relationship is first and foremost about the transaction. Alejandro needs a visa sponsor; Elizabeth, the repository for her anxieties. As time goes on—mostly spent running around in New York to restore Bobby’s paintings, or Elizabeth imploring Alejandro to sort out the database—the richness of their connection becomes more apparent. Torres and Swinton play out their characters’ respective emotions with understated skill. The progress of their relationship is measured by hasty exchanges of voice recordings, familiar glances and, for Alejandro, the confidence to finally stand up for himself against Elizabeth’s strained energy and erratic demands.

If I’m making Problemista it sounds like I’m being sentimental, but I’m not. Torres has created a strange and idiosyncratic little film that reflects his particular tastes and curiosities. Parts of the script might make us guess a bit more, rather than coddling us (as Dolores does with her son), wondering if we’ll connect the pieces in this narrative puzzle. Torres’ confidence is even more evident in the absurd asides and details he plays throughout. The visual focus of the hands, the elaborate maze as a metaphor for the labyrinthine immigration system, and a kind of alternate universe in which he handles the most difficult conversations and decisions—these are moves that have been and will continue to be, and Torres is a A passionate fanbase. They are the work of a director with an enviable imagination, a filmmaker who works doggedly and admirably on his own terms. Full credits

Venue: SXSW Film Festival (Headline News)
Dealer: A38 Production company: A, Fruit Trees

Cast: Julio Torres, Tilda Swinton, RZA, Isabella Rossellini, Larry Owens, Katharina Savy Della, Greta Lee Director-Screenwriter: Julio Torres Producers: Emma Stone, Dave McCary , Ali Herting Executive Producer:
Photographer: Frederick Wenzel
Production Designer: Katie Byron

Costume Designer: Catherine George Editors: Sara Shaw, Jacob Schulsinger Music: Robert Ouyang Rusili

Casting Directors: Gail e Keller, Emer O’Callaghan

English, Spanish 1 hour 38 minutes

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