Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Extra Terrestres (Extraterrestrials)

Extra Terrestres (Extraterrestrials), dir. Carla Cavina Meléndez, 2016 Venezuela/Puerto Rico, 113 min., in Spanish with English subtitles 😐
Saturday, June 17, 9:15 p.m., Roxie Theatre: West Coast première
Thursday, June 22, 9:30 p.m., Elmwood Theatre, Berkeley
Extra Terrestres (Extraterrestrials)

Teresa is a young woman who left Puerto Rico to become an astronomer, against her father’s wishes. After seven years of estrangement, she shows up to invite the family to her wedding, which, of course, involves coming out to them. Even apart from the web of lies and unspoken truths holding the family together in the best of times, the family chicken packaging business is facing an existential crisis, squeezed between foreign competitors, saboteurs, and government officials. Teresa’s mother will be familiar to Frameline audiences: actress Elba Escobar appeared in Azul y no tan rosa / My Straight Son (Frameline 38) and Liz en septiembre / Liz in September (Frameline 39).

The CGI space sequences are beautiful. Unfortunately, the characters lack depth and the story lacks coherence, alternating between boringly predictable and inexplicably wacky. Teresa’s nephew, a small boy with Asperger’s syndrome (I know that tidbit only from reading the IMDb page, although his behavior fits), promised but did not deliver an interesting angle on the family dynamics, and his role in the culmination of the story left me saying, “Huh??” The antagonists to the family business were thoroughly one-dimensional. Teresa’s family had cookie-cutter issues, and her fiancée appears periodically to say, in essence, “Have you come out yet?” I had high hopes for this film, in part because I once dreamed of being an astronomer (the next Carl Sagan, to be exact), but I can only sum up this film in one word: Meh. You could certainly find a worse way to spend two hours, but I can’t recommend this film.

IMDb pageOfficial website (en español) • Facebook • Twitter @ET_LaPelicula

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