Would you believe? Solomon (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) does — he already believes his own mother was abducted by aliens — which is probably easier than coming to terms with what might be his truer, more grizzly fate.
But such is the kind of absurd proposition faced by many undocumented immigrants like Solomon, as Antonio Tibaldi’s cool and atmospheric “We Are Living Things” postulates in a quirky if not always fully formed way: refugee life is often a choice between competing probabilities, a state of permanent ambiguity.
Solomon, who is Mexican, does odd jobs and lives at a recycling yard in Brooklyn, where at night he pursues his passions for magnetic rocks and listening to the stars. When he meets a beautiful Chinese woman, Chuyao (Xingchen Lyu), he feels he has found another believer. He’s not wrong; indeed, she says she herself was abducted by aliens.
He also senses danger. Chuyao is also undocumented – that is, vulnerable – from working days at a nail salon. At night, a charming hustler (Zao Wang) prostitutes her in a way that can cause an anxious Google search. (I’ll save you some awkwardness: it’s called a latex vacuum bed.) Solomon, often a more convincing stalker than the hero, has a creepy van and an unexplained setup with chloroform and box cutters. His unsolicited rescue attempt sends the unlikely pair fleeing west.
Tibaldi and his co-writer, Àlex Lora, do a lot with a little, and you’ll probably end up with more questions than answers – which is fitting for a film about various forms of extraterrestrial life. If you’re also wondering if the central characters and their relationship feel grounded enough, maybe the answer lies somewhere.
We are living beings
Unclassified. In English, Spanish and Mandarin, with subtitles. Duration: 1h36. In theaters.