March 9, 2008

Mi Reino por un Platillo Volador was directed by Tetsuo Lumière


By Pablo Suárez


“It´s about a young man called Lumi. He was born in a small town, a town without a movie theatre, but he fell in love with movies by watching them on TV. His favorite movie was one about Martians destroying the Earth with their flying saucers, The War of the Worlds. His dream was to make a movie like that, a film about flying saucers attacking the city of Buenos Aires” stated young Argentinean indie filmmaker Tetsuo Lumiere about his opera prima Mi reino por un platillo volador (My Kingdom for a Flying Saucer) recently selected in the category Best Video Film for the upcoming Cóndor Awards.


And Tetsuo Lumiere added: “When he was a teenager he moved to the big city, and there he lived in the streets, but never stopped making movies: very cheap ones, with sets made out of trash, using actors and actresses found anywhere; anxiously waiting for the moment to become rich and famous for having made a great movie about flying saucers. During the shooting of one of these films, Lumi fainted. At the hospital he learned that he had a brain tumor and he only had a few months of life left. Even then, having no job, no money, no girlfriend and ill at the verge of dying, Lumi was not discouraged. He spent his last months of life making his dreamed movie of flying saucers. No matter what”.


As delirious as it may sound, the above storyline is indeed the basis for one of the most original and creative local films released last year, which had a four-month-run at the Malba museum. Mi reino por un platillo volador is, first and above all, a comedy, and quite a dark one. Made on a shoestring budget (almost no budget at all, in fact) and written, directed, acted, and produced by Tetsuo Lumiere himself, this venture calls for a celebration.


Openly and ably following the footsteps of Ed Wood, Buster Keaton, Benny Hill, and even the early Woody Allen, Argentine Tetsuo Lumiere finds his own path in this singular piece of work. At first, you’d think it’s all about paying homage to great masters of comedy, and you’d be dead wrong. It’s only the start off point for the local indie filmmaker to create a film with its own sense of narrative: confident and well structured, with a storyline that provides the basis for a string of cleverly joined vignettes that make up a consistent whole.And there’s the sense of humor, dark and utterly witty. For Tetsuo Lumiere is a filmmaker who takes his material very seriously, yet that doesn’t prevent him from making fun of it – on the contrary. But dark humor means no cynicism here, it means the ability to find room for laughter in the most bizarre and trashy situations, in empathy with the characters, and never overestimating viewers.


What’s most remarkable about this unusual opera prima is how resourceful it is: with the bare essentials, this is the stuff you’re bound to remember for quite some time. (Lumiere’s own short films skillfully interspersed into the narrative are simply out of this world).

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