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In the movie “Problemista,” Tilda Swinton and Julio Torres play two characters who are complete opposites but form an unexpected bond.

The Insiders and the Outsiders

Elizabeth, played by Swinton, is a powerful art critic with a wealthy background. She’s known for her sharp tongue and strong opinions. Alejandro, played by Torres, is a Salvadoran toy designer struggling to get by in New York City. He’s facing poverty, discrimination, and the threat of deportation.

Despite their differences, they share a common outsider status. Elizabeth feels isolated in the art world, while Alejandro feels like an outsider in New York. They both have big dreams, but they’re facing challenges that make them feel like they don’t belong.

The Eccentric Painter

Bobby, played by RZA, is an eccentric painter who has frozen himself in a cryogenic lab. He’s also an outsider, but he’s proud of it. He wants to make his mark on the art world by being different.

Elizabeth’s Backstory

Torres and Swinton discussed Elizabeth’s backstory, which isn’t explicitly explored in the movie. They imagined her as a former groupie who followed an American rock star to New York. Her wardrobe hints at her past, with its tight black leather pants and rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

The Power of Complaining

Swinton says that Elizabeth uses complaining as a way to get what she wants. At first, it seems like it’s not working for her, but later in the movie, we see the value of her persistence. Alejandro learns from Elizabeth and adopts her strategy, but he uses it to his advantage.

The Importance of Dreams

Torres says that the movie is about “the other” and the importance of finding a sense of belonging. Elizabeth, Alejandro, and Bobby are all trying to find their place in the world, and they find it in each other. Despite their struggles, they never give up on their dreams.