Home » Problemista

All of comedian Julio Torres’ projects are demonstrations of his story telling prowess which reflect a creative mind and deep knowledge about the specific traits that make odd people fascinating. He built absurd worlds in SNL sketches like “Wells For Boys” and his short-lived HBO series Los Espookys that looked like places you could only visit in dreams. However, with A24’s Problemista-which he wrote, directed and starred in –Torres uses his imaginative abilities to create something beautiful because it feels real.

Problemista is an immigrant tale inspired by Torres’ own experience moving to the U.S., following Alejandro, an aspiring toy-maker from El Salvador who comes to America dreaming of working for Hasbro. As the single child born to Dolores (Catalina Saavedra), herself an artist, Alejandro grows up seeing their little corner as a magical, thriving place that nurtures his unique fantasies. When young Alejandro (Logan J. Alarcon-Poucel) requests for a giant playhouse shaped like a castle where he can ponder on his feelings, Dolores utilizes her skills to actualize his dream — not just because she can but also for him to know that he too has the potential of making concepts come true.

Alejandro must also always remember that she’ll never stop loving him or supporting him no matter what her dreams tell her about his future accomplishments. However, when it’s finally time for Alejandro to leave home, Dolores feels like she’s sending him into a world not gentle enough for such tender souls.

Through Isabella Rossellini’s voiceover narration and Katie Byron’s incredibly strange production design choices, Problemista is ultimately more than just the story of how Alejandro came to America; rather it often reads as if some fairy tales talking about a very sensitive guy from another world who eventually realized what passion means.

Getting there is crucial towards achieving the aspirations of working at Hasbro as an entry level employee where he thinks his ideas for social media obsessed Cabbage Patch Kids and psychologically manipulative Barbies will get him. There is one problem though: hope cannot buy a house. However, as an immigrant, Alejandro’s stay in the US hinges on finding a job that would sponsor him before his visa expires. Necessity therefore leads Alejandro to work for a cryogenics start-up that specializes in freezing artists like Bobby (RZA) until they wake up several centuries into the future. But luck seems to favor the brave because shortly after losing his job that same afternoon Alejandro meets Elizabeth (Tilda Swinton), Bobby’s ferociously belligerent art critic wife.

Problemista, however fanciful its beginning, has a kind of wildness that disturbs it when Elizabeth comes with her idea to Alejandro for him to become her next overused assistant. However, as Alejando percieves Elizabth the reality distortion field before an evening after Alejandro fights he can see Elisabeth who is mourning and does not want to fight; she wants to be seen and heard but being seen by someone else. In spite the fact that screaming is Elizabeth’s normal way of expressing herself, most people take her temper tantrums as simply tantrums but to Alejandro’s mind they are fights between a monster and his prey.

But Problemista’s comedy provides a light touch in the film; nothing could be farther from truth. Instead, they point out how hard it is for immigrants like Bobby to establish themselves in a new country through US visa system. The quest of Elizabeth trying trac some egg-related art works by Bobby appears unbearably torturous until one gets there. But what really frightens him is thinking about deportation which just days away into Mexico again.

Khalil (Laith Nakli), among others such as problem-solving case managers like Khalil (Laith Nakli), seems to feel sorry for him all the same. But without money there was no other way out for the person than paying never-ending fees charged by immigration system or bank overdrafts which plagued this account with them being delayed till they matured into huge debts. As such Alejandro cannot get out of this vicious cycle because each subsequent day throws him back into poverty-neighborhood confusion from where he returns home only after engaging himself in many low-paying jobs through Craigslist ads provided by Larry Owen.

For example, Problemista subtly connects these strands together: Dolores dreams about the cavernous creature lurking beneath her feet; Alejandro’ s mother used bullying tactics while his mother used bullying techniques on some pieces drawn during rough ideas to help him picture them as three-dimensional objects. 

Meanwhile, other moments in the film often make it seem like an anthology of linked stories rather than one cohesive narrative (which is not a bad thing necessarily) because its focus keeps shifting from Alejandro to different side characters. There are also connections between these elements through Swinton and Torres’ respective performances that while their acting styles may differ slightly in various scenes, they have similar overall attributes. As the relationship between Alejandero and Elizabeth becomes stronger, the director’s infrequent excursions into the absurd get more wild; thus, showing what it really means.

Thus people will find themselves unable to look at those truths that are so horrifying. However Problemista illustrates how art can heal for engaging with such things and trying to reach out even when it seems impossible.

The cast also includes Greta Lee, Spike Einbinder, Kelly McCormack, Megan Stalter, Charlene Incarnate, Martine Gutierrez and Carlos E. Navedo among others. The movie opens everywhere on March 22nd.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top