Was “Dazed and Confused” a Led Zeppelin song? It just may describe my mental state after watching “We Are Living Things”. This state could be attributed to a meaty film justly capable of being interpreted in many ways or a poorly made film lacking artistic cohesion. For “We Are Living Things” I go with the former and throw the compliment to co writers Alex Lora and Antonio Tibaldi.
In a nutshell Mysterious Soloman (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) is an illegal Mexican migrant working in a recycling plant in Brooklyn. He claims his mother had abandoned him shortly after his birth in Mexico City and travelled to Arizona where she was abducted by aliens. He believes in aliens as does Chuyao (Xingchen Lyu) who has fled China after her father can’t accept her “ridiculous” belief in aliens and spaceships and her assertion she has been abducted by aliens. Chuyao works in a Brooklyn nail salon with forged identity papers.
Soloman also is a maintenance man for a tenement and when in Chuyao’s apartment repairing a pipe he notices a large picture with an alien craft. Ah he is drawn to Chuyao like a moth to a flame. Chuyao is pimped out by “Uncle Bo” who in addition to his pimping to clients looking for the bizarre runs migrant smuggling operations. After a particularly kinky encounter where Chuyao is drugged into unconsciousness and violated wearing a spacesuit Soloman exacts a horrible revenge on Uncle Bo and as immigration is after Chuyao they flee to Arizona in search of aliens.
So how does one interpret the film in a fashion that holds water?
- These are weird alien believers caught up in their alien obsession. Ok that flies in the context of the question of do they connect with aliens in Arizona?
- The film is a collection of allegory, parable, simile and metaphor. Solomon and Chuyao are aliens in America not being accepted by mainstream America. Their social isolation and exploitation creates such gross alienation they are in fact aliens although not from another planet.
- The film explores the concept of spirituality. While Soloman and Chuyao have no visible religious beliefs there is a shared spirituality with higher beings such as aliens.
- The film unapologetically critiques and exposes exploitation of “illegals”.
- The film explores the void between those who believe in aliens and those who do not.
Take your choice of any or all of these and you won’t be laughed out of theatre as the film opens in Canada commencing on August 12, 2022.
Directed by Antonio Tibaldi.
You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/708307704
There are no weak links in this cast and Lyu and Guerrero shine both with roles that are complex.
RKS Film Rating 90/100.