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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 11.29.11] movie review scifi

Year: 2011
Directors: Nacho Vigalondo
Writers: Nacho Vigalondo
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Crystal Ferret
Rating: 8 out of 10

Good morning sunshine ! It’s already late and you should get up. Thing is, you’re in an unknown bed with no idea of how you ended up there in the first place. Everyone knows this situation can be awkward and obvious questions arise: Where am I? Why are I here? WHO am I with?

Once the panic subsides there’s always the need to break the ice. It can be done with numerous ways, but director Nacho Vigalondo came up with a new one: Yelling “what’s this big flying saucer doing in the sky?”

Before you all get excited thinking about the aliens, how they look, do they have lasers? will they kidnap our women for their own unspeakable purposes? I must tell you that what we have here is a huis-clos with four characters.
“Extraterreste” it seems is a title to be seen more in the symbolic sense of being outside the known norms, for instead of a true science-fiction movie this is a romantic comedy.

The basic set up is of a love triangle with the added flavor of an obnoxious neighbor. Throw them in a deserted city evacuated since the apparition of aforesaid flying saucer, pressure them with thoughts about “are the aliens amongst us?” and the result is an unrelenting spiral into paranoia, absurdity and tennis balls.

This being said, it’s a pretty difficult task to talk about the action or the developments without spoiling the surprise. It’s like trying to review an ongoing telenovela. If you try to get the whole picture you either fail or spoil it utterly. If you speak about a particular episode you won’t make any sense. So I’m kinda stuck here…

Rom-com within a fantastic set-up, piling references on itself should ring a bell for everyone, yet comparing Extraterrestre and Shaun of Dead is a pointless exercise. The closest association that forced its way into my head is with Bigas Luna’s “Trilogia Testicular”.

Anyway, even if you won’t see actual science fiction on screen, the way the movie develops is a lovingly crafted tribute to all the classics of the genre, be in form or intention. Playing the “where have I seen this before?” on the way back home made me grin with utmost satisfaction at the sheer list of films and books it called to my memory.

Be sure to also read Rochefort's review from Fantastic Fest 2011

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