Entertainment » Movies

Brief Story from the Green Planet

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Oct 24, 2019
'Brief Story From The Green Planet'
'Brief Story From The Green Planet'  

Writer-director Santiago Loza explores themes of identity, belonging, and alienation in a film that features a literal alien. "Brief Story from the Green Planet" follows a trans woman named Tania (Romina Escobar) and her closest friends since childhood, Daniela (Paula Grinszpan) and Pedro (Luis Sodá) as they journey from the city where they make their home to rural Argentina, first to their old home town - where Tania's grandmother has recently died and been buried - and, from there, to a spot in the countryside where, years earlier, Tania's grandmother discovered an extraterrestrial. The trio hopes to lay the unearthly creature to its rest, but the alien's life is not over - and neither, despite the blank effect the three share, are theirs.

It's that blankness, curiously, that drives the film, and when first one character and then another describes a "hole" or some other sensation in their chest, you get the feeling that Loza has taken one of science fiction's venerable tropes - aliens lack human sentiments, and if alien invaders don't replace us with unfeeling drones that look like us on the outside but are hollow within, then our own growing reliance on technology will literally mechanize us into emotionless automatons - and flipped it upside down. What if it's the racial affliction of the so-called human condition that suffocates emotions? What if the "aliens" among us are the only truly human beings that remain in our midst?

The three wander by foot, dragging a suitcase packed with ice in which the alien's body is kept in a state of suspended animation. Along the way, they encounter acquaintances from their youth, intuit their own burgeoning (or long-dormant) power, and follow strange humanoids that manifest in order to guide them along the proper path. The alien itself is cartoonish, with purple skin, huge eyes, and blinking lights in its head, but somehow this doesn't throw the film off track. By sticking to his dramatic fundamentals - questions of isolation, purpose, grief, longing, and belonging - Loza keeps his strange tale grounded in the good earth of effective storytelling.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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