The Arrival of Wang (2011) | This Italian sci-fi thriller is ET for grown-ups

The Arrival of Wang

The Arrival of Wang marks the arrival of an intelligent sci-fi and of the Manetti Brothers (Marco and Antonio) as filmmakers to watch out for. This ET for grown-ups sees a young translator being hired by the Italian secret service to oversee the interrogation of an extra-terrestrial caught making what could be a bomb in a suburban house in Rome.

The Arrival of Wang

If aliens did come to Earth, what language would they speak? Sci-fi films have always assumed they would speak English, but the fact Chinese Mandarin is the most spoken language on Earth (1.12 billion at last count), it makes sense.

The first half of this film plays like a tense political thriller along the lines of Marathon Man. More used to doing subtitles for Asian gangster thrillers, the translator (Francesca Cuttica) is shocked by the interrogators increasingly hostile handling on the situation. Securely bound, Wang certainly looks harmless enough (he reminded me of a Silurian from Doctor Who) and his answers to the interrogator questions seem truthful. But does he have a silver tongue to go with his silver skin?

The Arrival of Wang

What follows may not be as keenly observed as the film’s earlier scenes, but it does end with a real power keg of a climax. This is sci-fi at its most inventive, and anyone studying Chinese Mandarin will want to take note: the delivery here is impeccable.

A Must See, because of all of the above.

In Italian, with subtitles

Available on DVD through Saffron Hill/Peccadillo Pictures


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on August 25, 2013, in Must See, Must-See, Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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