We Are Living Things

When you first delve into the film you think it is going to be a film about two immigrants trying to exist while living in hiding in the United States. With the state of the world, refugees/immigration and the United States right now, this is a topic which creeps up plenty in film. But oh! As the film goes on you realize that there is also an alien or UFO abduction side to the story. Oh, and also a love story. Sound strange? Yes, it is. In a quiet kind of way, however.

Nothing about Australian Antonio Tibaldi’s (Thy Father’s Chair) film is over the top. There is precious little dialogue or action to be found here. Much of the story is told via the visuals which were done by Italian cinematographer Luca Bigazzi (This Must Be the Place, Futura). Long periods (especially at the beginning of the film) of silence happen. That does not really matter as the beauty of the film will transport you into what is going on.

Living in a recycling plant in Brooklyn is how illegal Mexican immigrant, Solomon (Jorge Antonio Guerrero – Roma, Les Oiseaux Ivres) survives while evading the authorities. One day he runs into Chuyao (Xingchen Lyu – Gone With the Light, Wisdom Tooth). The young woman has a story and boy, is it even a whopper!

Chuyao has been tossed out by her father because she claims to have been abducted by aliens. After this, she fled China for the United States. Being there illegally, she has had to exist on the fringes. So she has worked as a prostitute under a pimp who does not treat her very well. The pimp has even installed a tracking device in her neck to keep tabs on Chuyao.

Solomon decides that he must save Chuyao from all this. The two run off to Arizona. In the vast expanse of the desert there, Solomon comes face to face with his past. Together the two, who are together due to their trauma, search for answers about the alien abduction.

While there are several problems with the film, it is a partial success due to the freshness of the story and the strong performances by the two leads. I admired the attempt by Tibaldi to draw parallels between aliens and aliens/immigrants living on the outside of traditional society in the United States.

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