4. Extraterrestrial (dir. Nacho Vigalondo)“Something urgent is not the same as something important. That’s my lesson.” This part of director Nacho Vigalondo’s introduction to his new film, Extraterrestrial, stuck with me throughout the whole genre-bending screwball comedy. The film opens with Julio and Julia, awkwardly dancing around each other the morning after a drunken romp. Normal post-one-night-stand protocol is thrown out the window when the twosome notices that all communication lines are down and, more alarming still, a giant alien spacecraft is hovering outside the window. In any other film, made in any other country, by any other director, Julia and Julio would then embark on an adventure of epic proportions, falling in love as their adrenaline from massacring aliens brings them closer together. But this is Nacho Vigalondo, making a character-driven story “filled with bullsh*t” (his words), not a soulless big-budget sci-fi extravaganza. So instead, Julia and Julio use the conventions of alien invasion stories to weave an elaborate web of lies to cover up their brief affair when a nosy neighbor, Angel, and her alpha male boyfriend with a penchant for heroism, Carlos, check in on her. The series of lies becomes more and more elaborate as Angel discovers their secret, and Carlos experiences an entire film of his own off camera, seeking out alien insurgents and fighting to take back the city. Or so he thinks.
Extraterrestrial shows a masterful knowledge of every genre in play. No one could tell a story quite this humorously, this cleverly, without having a vast working knowledge of science fiction, romance, and classic screwball comedies, yet nothing about the film feels too well tread or unoriginal. Even with a straightforward narrative, a huge departure from Vigalondo’s first feature, Timecrimes, the film keeps us guessing as we marvel at the absurd length these two people will go to, and to what end? With the world seemingly ending outside, how much does it matter if your boyfriend catches you cheating? It may have been more important to come up with a plan of survival, but the comically urgent human drama at hand took priority. Leads Julián Villagrán and the jaw droppingly gorgeous Michelle Jenner have incredible chemistry, which grounds the outrageous nature of the story.
Favorite Scene: A character makes a “confession” that is at once ridiculous and necessary, perhaps not to the physical survival of the human race, but certainly to the mental survival of the people involved in this comedy of errors.
**OFFICIAL ENTRY: TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2011****OFFICIAL ENTRY: FANTASTIC FEST 2011**
From Focus Features, the premiere global brand in original and daring cinema, comes FOCUS WORLD. Charged with finding the most exciting voices in international and independent film, Focus World is proud to present EXTRATERRESTRIAL, the sexy and hilarious new sci-fi comedy from director Nacho Vigalondo (TIMECRIMES).
When Julio wakes up in a strange apartment after a night of partying, he’s pleasantly surprised to discover it belongs to a beautiful one-night-stand he can’t remember - Julia. What’s already an awkward situation is made even more so when they discover a giant flying saucer hovering above the city, which is now deserted. Now Julio must contend with a jealous ex-boyfriend, an eccentric neighbor – and very possibly the end of the world!
Extraterrestrial will be available nationwide on video-on-demand as well as other outlets in Focus World’s digital distribution network. The film will also be available to filmgoers across the country through Tugg (more info below) with initial theatrical releases in select cities including Brooklyn, NY (at reRun’s Gastropub Theater) and Seattle, WA (at the Uptown Theatre) on June 15th; North Hollywood, CA (at Laemmle’s Noho 7), on June 22nd; and in Texas (at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations) in June.
Watch the trailer here: http://trailers.apple.com/