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I am a Problemista

There are moments when I worry that a unique, creative voice has been lost. The formula is the same: the approach for box office numbers is all that matters and a concept that does not challenge audiences. Then a film that is so authentically itself appears, and I fall in love with movies all over again. 

In his directorial debut Probelmista, Julio Torres demonstrates that he has a voice and message to deliver. The film follows an aspiring Toy designer named Alejandro who is trying to achieve this dream but he was not born in the US and needs a sponsor for his work visa and only has a month to find one. Then enters Elizabeth, played by Tilda Swinton, who is a widow of an artist and a huge Karen, to say the least. Watching Alejandro and Elizabeth’s relationship unravel throughout the film will give you anxiety but also fuel you with ambition. It makes you reflect on your own dreams, watching Alejandro pursue his.   

Torres is exceptional and watching him enter the film industry given his work in stand-up and ridiculous sketches. It begins in a hilarious way before gradually developing into a heartwarming tale of trial and error. It’s like getting a proper inside look at Torres’s head, which highlights how immigrants are treated in the US. Torres has a vivid imagination, and anything he sees is translated on screen. He has transformed a straightforward tale that conquers human connection into a fever dream picture that calls out this bureaucracy.  

Also, challenges views on the lives of artists and general views on how we live and interact with one another. While the two characters are vastly different in terms of privileges, given that Elizabeth has more resources than Alejandro, they both are trying to reach the same goal, which is their version of the American dream.

The attention to detail with Alejandro and Elizabeth is brilliant. Torres made his voice soft-spoken with pauses from his line delivery that is awkward and funny that it works incredibly. Alejandro’s one strand of hair that sticks out the entire time and his little walk that makes him bounce slightly off the ground like an NPC is the glue of his character. As for Elizabeth, she has red hair with enormous bangs, long coats, and little knowledge of technology that her iPhone flashlight stays on 24/7. The film shows accurate modern interactions with technology that is accurate. When films do not show correct digital media culture it is just awful and cringy. This film did not do that at all, having an authentic approach to portraying the digital age I had never seen before, at least not in this way that is so joyful.   

The combination of magical realism and crazy humor to depict the American immigration process is beyond genius. As a lead in his first film Julio Torres embodies a character that represents hope and is incredibly gifted. Tilda Swinton needs no introduction since she is known to be a chameleon in acting. She conveys humanity in her character, even with a great sense of entitlement. It was a more emotional experience than I had anticipated, combining the main characters' personalities and letting them show their reflection on one another, and I adored it. This whimsical tale elevates a personal story that is neglected in modern narratives.  

This is for those who are set in their ways and believe everything is going wrong at once. It all seems to be coming at you from all angles, and there appears to be no hope for survival. For those who simply wish to exist and express their creativity without having the outside world screaming in their ears all the time. As someone who struggles with feeling like I am not worthy or that this world was not built for me, this film made me feel so seen. Probelmista is like a slap in the face and a hug, and is so funny about it. The one thing I dislike about the film is that it has to end. But even the ending is so beautiful that I can’t find any hate. My movie of the year!

Written by Daniel Rojas


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