Dir/scr: Marcelo Tobar. Mexico. 2014. 102mins
The strained relationship between siblings provides the dramatic drive for Marcelo Tobar’s impressively tense and edgy Asteroid (Asteroidede), driven by suitably abrasive and tense performances by Sophie Alexander-Katz and Arturo Barba as sister and brother bonded by blood but who struggle to be in each other’s company for too long.
Sophie Alexander-Katz brings an almost femme fatale quality to her role.
The film, which had its world premiere at the Miami International Film Festival, has a nicely gritty and emotionally charged tone as it dwells on the fractured relationship between siblings Cristina (Sophie Alexander-Katz) and Mauricio (the bushy-bearded Arturo Barba). They lost their parents to a fatal car crash when they were teenagers, and they’ve been struggling ever since.
The adult Maurcio still lives in the rambling home where they grew up, defiantly attempting to hold on to his sobriety. When Cristina shows up after a seven-year gap, fleeing her latest burnout in Mexico City, she brings with her psychological baggage and sense of manipulation, with her emotional instability only heightening Maurcio’s anxieties.
Their relationship is one of ups and downs, with Cristina not overly impressed with the fact Mauricio has a girlfriend (Sofía Espinosa) – or liking his bushy beard – and subtly tries to manipulate him, eventually leading to him to hit the bottle again (both at their parent’s graveyard and later in a bar) and subside into anger and depression.
Sophie Alexander-Katz brings an almost femme fatale quality to her role (and there is an underlying sexual tension between brother and sister) while Arturo Barba has a genial charm that gradually shifts into gloomy selfishness as they start to spend time together again. Asteroid (so titled as he describes her as an ‘asteroid’…a piece of ‘floating space debris’) may well offer no great original drama, but its mood and underlying tension is nicely sustained by writer/director Marcelo Tobar.
Production companies: Bolcheviquel, Transistor Films, Zensky Cinema
Producer: Elsa Reyes
Executive producers: Alejandro Mejía, Marcelo Tobar, Miguel Ángel Mendoza
Cinematography: Alejandro Mejía
Editor: Jose M. Martinez
Music: Adan Herrera
Main cast: Sophie Alexander-Katz, Arturo Barba, Sofía Espinosa, Ari Brickman