A film that plays with the tropes of the genre but fails to involve the viewer.
Lola (Vanesa González) and Renzo (Vittorio D’Alessandro) look for Lautaro, always curious about life on other planets, long gone. Following in his footsteps, they set out on an adventure that could be a spiral into madness or a revelation that will test their beliefs. Tell this To Exist by Gabriel Griesco – who plays the part of the writer who tells the story -, Italian premiere at the Trieste Science Film Festival (in Trieste, from 1 to 6 November 2022).
To Exist: a tale made up of myths and legends
Grieco brings to the screen a science fiction and adventure film full of references to Argentine myths and legends: UFO sightings stories in Salta, El Cerro Uritorco in Córdoba. Grieco chooses seven characters, the chosen ones, Emilio, Camille, Laura, Warna, Karen, Leia and Lautaro – who has been missing for two years now, he went away leaving his ex-girlfriend Lola and his best friend Renzo -, seven like the Pleiades, celestial nymphs, daughters of the titan Atlas, who supports the celestial vault, from there the extraterrestrials get in touch with humans. The Chosen One meet and forming a circle, “talk” with the other worlds.
On the anniversary of the last time they saw Lautaro, Lola receives strange messages – by a mysterious hacker – who call her back to a wasteland, where she unearths a pendant that she recognizes as hers. The clues she receives from her lead her to a country location secretly studied for some time by the military under the command of Salazar (Luis Machín), but to no avail. Knowing where to look thanks to the hacker’s guide, Lola finds Lautaro’s notes and is convinced that he is indeed on the right track. She just needs to understand why Lautaro went missing while running away from Salazar, but another layer of mystery overlaps Lola and Renzo’s adventure as a troubled writer tirelessly puts everything they do into words in a film script.
Pursued by the military, Renzo and Lola travel through various places in Argentina to reach Lautaro, while many supernatural events intervene in their path. It will be Renzo himself who will give her a hand when he saves her from a group of soldiers who want to take her. From there Lola and Renzo make a journey through time, space and their feelings, in fact over the years the two have understood that they have feelings for each other, without ever forgetting the love they feel for Lautaro.
Renzo and Lola in search of Lautaro
The feeling throughout the film is that of witnessing a work that contains many othersthere are close encounters, military who want to imprison the couple, journeys of light in space and time, a group of Chosen who have a sensitivity capable of understanding what others do not mean. To Exist combines in itself, in the plot, in the narration, in its characters, elements dear to filmography and the tradition of genre and Grieco puts everything together in his own way; is a road movie wrapped in extraterrestrial nuances that uses the tropes common to the genre and adapts them to the territory.
Otherness is not a threat, Lautaro seeks the connection with Renzo and Lola and they seek him. A journey with an uncertain destination, the search for something unlikely, in a plot where science mixes with the spiritual. Linear time theories merge with cyclic time theories, showing that scientists don’t have all the answers.
To Exist: a film that plays with the tropes of the genre but fails to engage the viewer
Gabriel Grieco demonstrates his skill as a director. The story does not fully convince. To Exist it certainly shines in the visual proposal and in the solid project it carries forward but there is something that makes the viewer take a step back.