After her father’s death, Leo leaves her life as a fashion student in London and returns to her hometown of Gijón in Spain — where her mother is on the verge of eviction. The two scheme their next meal by selling personal items online and running up tabs based on extensive lies. Their impending misfortune does not stop the pair from dressing up in their best fur coats, heading to the mall to sample makeup, and buying cute shoes (as long as they are returnable). The grifting is delicious, and their familial bond over common tragedy strengthens as evident doom nears.
Multitalented writer/director Amalia Ulman’s charming feature-length directorial debut blurs the line between fact and fiction — Ulman plays Leo and her real-life mother, Ale Ulman, plays Leo’s undeniably lovable mother. Borrowing heavily from Ulman’s lived experiences and inspired by the Spanish picaresque genre, EL PLANETA elegantly crafts a glimpse into the life of a family striving to survive in the post-2009 economic crisis and questioning who is entitled to a better life.
“Ulman's carefree directorial approach allows for a sense of improvisational fluidity that renders the mother-daughter's demeanour and conversations natural and relatable. EL PLANETA is also a eulogy, mourning a city in economic decline. Dressing up this eulogy in the threads of an episodic comedy, Ulman gave us one of Sundance 2021's most assured directorial debuts, the kind that promises bigger and better things.” —Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost “From the ingenious metaphor built on top of a dead cat to the way in which costume design elevates the characters, first-time director Amalia Ulman shows refined attention to detail. EL PLANETA is a fresh, captivating reflection on finality, whichever way it comes.” —Rafaella Sales Ross, One Room With a View