‘Problemista’ Trailer: Julio Torres and Tilda Swinton Satirize the Art World

Isabella Rossellini and RZA also star in "Los Espookys" actor Torres' first feature, which premiered at 2023 SXSW.

Tilda Swinton transforms once more for a role — this time into a deranged yet endearing art critic for Julio Torres’ satire “Problemista.”

The film debuted at 2023 SXSW, with Torres marking his feature directorial debut coming off “Los Espookys.” Torres plays Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who is struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast (Swinton) becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream. Torres writes and directs the surreal adventure film that shows the pitfalls of the equally treacherous worlds of New York City and the U.S. Immigration system.

RZA, Isabella Rossellini, Larry Owens, Catalina Saavedra, and Greta Lee round out the A24 film. Torres also produces, along with Emma Stone, Dave McCary, and Ali Herting. “Problemista” is among IndieWire’s list of must-see movies to watch this summer.

Actress Swinton pointed out during the SXSW post-screening Q&A that her former art critic character Elizabeth is not a “Karen” in terms of her relationship with Torres’ Alejandro.

“A Karen is an insider, and Elizabeth is an outsider. That’s the love story: These are two outsiders, who are both immigrants, incidentally,” Swinton said. “So she, at one point, had to go through the ropes in the same way. Well, not exactly the same way. But that’s one change I would make to your question.”

The IndieWire review praised the scope of “Problemista” and writer-director Torres’ relatable portrayal of the immigrant experience.

“Torres delivers possibly the best movie about the Latino experience in the U.S. out of SXSW,” the review reads. “The otherworldly magical realism helps heighten the absurdity of the immigration system without it weighing on the humor of the story. Torres places equal frustration on the smallest inconveniences as he does on big systematic issues.”

The review continues, “Torres’ feature directorial debut is a confident, imaginative calling card, a film that has as much to say about the immigrant experience as it does about being an artist trying to remain unique and personal, as it simply delivers an endearing and hilarious comedy.”

“Problemista” premieres August 4 in limited theaters. Check out the trailer below.

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