Brief Story From The Green Planet


Reviewed by: Jane Fae

Brief Story From The Green Planet
"Whatever you expected to happen is not about to do so." | Photo: Eduardo Crispo

To suggest that Brief Story From The Green Planet is quirky fails to cover the half of it. Nope: Brief Story is strange, downright odd. Though oddly (!) that did not stop me from enjoying the out of this world journey embarked upon by its protagonists - although it took a while to settle down to doing so.

That is in part because of the disjointed nature of the narrative, as well as the uneven tone and style with which Argentine Director, Santiago Loza has approached his project. To begin, we are introduced to three characters: independent trans woman Tania (Romina Escobar) and her friends Pedro (Luis Soda) and Daniela (Paula Grinszpan).

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Each, in their way, is damaged: Daniela by a broken relationship, Tania by the unwanted attention of men who cross her path and Pedro.... Of the three, Pedro seems most at ease with himself, so long as he has the time and space to dance the night away at his local queer club. But force him back into more heteronormative space and he wilts.

Still, there is a consistency to this opening which for a good 20 minutes deals with our alienated threesome in mostly wordless fashion, painting each individual world almost exclusively through music and light. There is a very visual quality to the opening which contrasts sharply with what follows.

For after a gentle introduction the peace is shattered by a phone call. Tania's grandmother has died and she must travel up country/out of town to settle her affairs. Her friends accompany her and still there is next to no hint of what is to come as her grandmother's carer guides them gently through the elderly woman's last hours and reminisces about “how Tania has changed!”

Time to leave, she tells them. But oh: before she goes., she just has to let them know that... Tania's grandmother met and befriended an alien (of the bug-eyed Roswell variety), who is now sleeping downstairs in a fridge in the basement. And maybe they can respect gran's last wishes by transporting the poor little mite back to where gran found him.

This was the point at which viewers of this film may go for the double take. Like, what? Not just at the alien in the fridge, or the bizarre quest that this fact sets in train but the flashback sequences of gran 'frolicking' with said alien.

It is all very unsettling, because whatever you expected to happen is not about to do so. And the quest that follows is every bit as provoking as what you just found out.

On the one hand, having loaded the sad little alien up into a suitcase and tossed in a lot of ice to go, we see a lot of our gallant band just dragging the suitcase up and down highways and through woods without obviously getting anywhere. But in true Quest style, they do undergo a series of encounters and adventures that may or may not mean something.

It is hard to tell. On their way through the woods, Daniela is haunted by spooky apparitions which might be knights. Or aliens. Or maybe natives in their native dress. Who knows. Nothing is ever explained: and no-one ever actually interacts with them.

Perhaps the bigger message is about standing up for what you believe and asserting queer values over the local bigotry. In one episode, Pedro is shoved to the ground by some guys who, we learn, bullied him when he was younger, for dancing where he is not supposed to dance. But after Tania stands up for him, they back off.

Later, the three of them appear to achieve something still more remarkable by the power of words.

Did I mention it is all very odd?

But not unenjoyable. If you like your films to come with a strong narrative component, or even a theme that you can readily put your finger on, you will hate this. If, on the other hand, you are happy to flow along with it, let the experience wash over you, then there is something here for you – though you may still find the disjointed nature of the narrative and the absence of obvious ending frustrating.

An intriguing film which, for all its shortcomings, picked up the Teddy Award for best LGBTQ-themed feature film when it premiered at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival.

Reviewed on: 04 Oct 2019
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Brief Story From The Green Planet packshot
When Tania finds out that her grandma has spent her final years in the caring company of a cute purple alien, she embarks on a journey through small-town Argentina with two close friends to deliver the creature back to its origins.

Director: Santiago Loza

Writer: Santiago Loza

Year: 2019

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Spain

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