Brief Story from the Green Planet (Breve historia del planeta verde)
Written and directed by experimental filmmaker Santiago Loza, Brief Story from the Green Planet follows the journey of transwoman Tania (Romina Escobar) and her two childhood friends, Daniela (Paula Grinszpan) and Pedro (Luis Soda), as they follow a map left by Tonia’s recently deceased grandmother through rural Argentina to return an alien – who she spent her final years caring for – to the spot where it was originally found. With a premise as unique and absurdist as this, it’s disappointing that the film throws all potential away to become a rather dry and uneventful slog.
Although there’s nothing wrong with a filmmaker being ambitious with their ideas to create meaning in their art, Loza arguably reaches too far with what was possible from a very bare bones premise contained within an incredibly short runtime of just over an hour. From what starts off as a peculiar expedition between friends, the events only become stranger with the appearances of mysterious hooded guides in body paint, ghostly mobs and insights into the trio’s past – all of which is already set against the backdrop of carrying a purple alien in a suitcase.
Far too often Brief Story cuts to scenes that, despite dialogue suggesting linearity, simply don’t flow naturally, consequently disrupting the flow to reset the film’s trajectory onto another new tangent that takes things in an equally strange and loosely connected direction, insofar as the central narrative thread is pushed to the background to be all but forgotten. While the alien is only intended to be a McGuffin of sorts to explore other issues, but with no coherent connections or theme tying these sequences together, we’re left only with a series of bizarre scenes devoid of any sense of deeper meaning.
This is not to say that Loza’s ambition is entirely without merit. From a technical standpoint his latest film is a marvel of neon-splattered beauty. Lighting, framing and sound are all used to the fullest to create a hypnotic atmosphere that beckons viewers to peer deeper into the frame – albeit if there’s not much to be found.
On paper, Brief Story from the Green Planet should offer a weird and engaging cinematic experience. But due to the filmmaker’s own artistic ambition stretching its premise too thin, there’s not much to be gained from sitting through this.
Brief Story from the Green Planet (Breve historia del planeta verde) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.