My husband and I never pass up a chance to see a movie from Spain. And since we live in South Florida, we can take advantage of screenings especially arranged by the Miami Film Festival as part of their 30th anniversary season of activities. The latest was Extraterrestrial, directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
Vigalondo came from from Madrid to introduce his film and answer questions afterwards at the Tower Theatre in Miami.
This is the second feature (his first was Timecrimes) for Vigalondo, who is a veteran of shorts and television in his native country. In his introduction, Vigalondo said that most sci fi films about aliens focused on a singular hero who would save the world. What he wanted to do in his film was focus on everybody else, the not-so-heroic. Here is the trailer, with English subtitles:
Extraterrestrial is a sci-fi comedy. It starts with a young man named Julio (Julián Villagrán) and a young woman namedJulia (Michelle Jenner). They meet at a club and Julio goes home with her, so drunk that he cannot remember the next morning if they actually had sex or not. When Julio wakes up he tries to salvage the situation, fails, especially after he can't remember Julia's name, and tries to go home, only to discover that a four-mile wide UFO is hovering over Julia's part of the city. The city has been evacuated and the radio instructs everyone who hasn't left to stay where they are.
The confused pair find that they are not alone in the building, as Ángel (Carlos Areces), Julia's ugly-boy-next-door neighbor and stalker keeps tabs on her every movement. And then Julia's ex-boyfriend Carlos (Raúl Cimas) shows up. Now the movie becomes a comedy of manners: Julia doesn't want Carlos to know about the sex she may or may not have had with Julio, but keeping that a secret is tough as Carlos is always doing his best to spill the beans. The solution to their problems becomes a tangled web of lies that all have something to do with the UFO and alien posession; keeping the lie going, as hilariously difficult as it is, is easier than facing the truth about themselves. Shot mostly in one apartment with just five actors, this movie proves Vigalondo's point that you can hybridize sci fi with almost anything, and especially with comedy.
The film had its North American premiere at the Toronto 2011 Film Festival. Focus World, Focus Features' new digital distribution initiative, is releasing the film in partnership with Tugg, a system that allows fans nationwide to set up their own local theatrical screening. It is also available via Video on Demand and itunes.