Julio Torres, known for his work on “Los Espookys” and “Saturday Night Live,” is making his debut as a film director with “Problemist.” The movie was popular at the SXSW festival in 2023 and was also shown at Outfest LA. Although it was supposed to be released earlier, strikes caused a delay. It’s now coming to select theaters on March 1 and everywhere on March 22, distributed by A24.
In “Problemista,” Torres plays Alejandro, an immigrant with big dreams in New York City. He faces challenges like tough bureaucracy, unfair employers, and the housing crisis, all portrayed humorously. The film features a diverse cast, including Tilda Swinton, RZA, Greta Lee, and others, and is narrated by Isabella Rossellini.
Torres shares that his movie reflects his own life experiences, especially the struggles against bureaucracy and living with integrity without compromising. He mentions his upbringing, where questioning rules and not being driven by money was emphasized. Despite his success, he avoids credit and strives to live within his means.
The film includes fantasy elements, like a maze-like office and a dragon, symbolizing Torres’ experiences, like the complicated visa process and intimidating phone conversations. These creative touches reflect his unique storytelling style.
Tilda Swinton joined the film late in its development, drawn by Torres’ world-building and community-focused approach. Torres cites influences like Mr. Bean, Buster Keaton, Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman, Pedro Almodóvar, and anime, which all contribute to his distinctive blend of reality, magic, humor, and emotion in filmmaking. Source