Saturday, December 3, 2011
Nacho Vigalondo, the young Spanish filmmaker who a few years back brought us the mini-budget but maxi-creative sci-fi thriller TimeCrimes, is back this year with Spanish Cinema Now's opening night selection. This is a wonderfully goofy, funny and inventive movie that takes a very real and imposing invasion from space and turns it into a kind of McGuffin, a red herring that allows this clever and ironic writer/director to explore once again, Spanish style, those eternal verities of sex, love, honor and commitment while making us gasp and laugh, wonder and chuckle. One neat feat of moviemaking is EXTRATERRESTRIAL!
Julián Villagrán (two photos up and below) is terrific -- going through change after change, trying to adapt to the invasion of his planet and then of his heart, as he grows closer to the young lady whom he has recently screwed but knows almost nothing about. Played by Michelle Jenner (above) -- quite the little performer who also stars in this year's SCN movie Don't Be Afraid -- this crackerjack actress is practically unrecognizable visually and emotionally from one role to the other.
Miguel Noguera (as a TV newscaster with a lot of problems), Raúl Cimas (above, with firearm) as Jenner's boyfriend, and especially Carlos Areces (so amazing in last year's SCN hit The Last Circus) as Jenner's next-door-neighbor, the ironically named Ángel. Among his many skills is Vigalondo's ability to subtly foreshadow and then build on it. I won't say anymore -- except that the film's final conversation is delightful: a kind of message about how to live, to perform and maybe even to make movies. And the last shot is simply glorious: a beautiful, low-key, deadpan hoot-and-a-half.