New Movie "Problemista": Man Makes Learning Toys
This image released by A24 Films shows Julio Torres, left, and Tilda Swinton in a scene from "Problemista." (A24 via AP)

New Movie "Problemista": Man Makes Learning Toys

February 27th, 2024

There is a new movie. It has a man named Alejandro. He wants to make toys, but they are not normal toys. He thinks the toys should teach kids about time. Julio Torres made this movie. He acts and directs in it. The movie is called "Problemista." Alejandro is from El Salvador. He is in New York to work for a toy company. He needs to stay longer, so he must get a special paper. His mom is at home. She tries to keep him happy. But New York is big and scary for him. In the movie, a lady named Elizabeth needs help. Her husband is frozen, but she must pay to keep him cold. She tries to sell his paintings to get money. She is loud and strong. Tilda Swinton plays her. Alejandro helps her with computers and selling paintings. Alejandro and Elizabeth are different but they help each other. They become friends. The movie is funny and strange. It talks about how hard it is for people from other countries to live in the USA. It also talks about banks and how they are confusing. Julio Torres also worked on "Saturday Night Live." He likes to make funny things. This movie is his first big movie as a director. The movie "Problemista" is for grown-ups. It has some adult talk and jokes. It is 104 minutes long. People like it a lot. The movie looks at the future, too. People think Julio Torres will make more movies. He is starting to show us his ideas.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What does Alejandro want to make in the new movie?
. Who is the lady that needs help in the movie?
. What show did Julio Torres work on before making the movie?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

The article is from the United States, a country known for its large movie industry called Hollywood. New York, mentioned in the article, is a famous and busy city there. "Saturday Night Live" is a popular American TV comedy show.

🧠 Further reading

Adaptation (film)
"Adaptation" is a funny and serious movie from the United States. It came out in 2002. The big boss of the movie is Spike Jonze. Charlie Kaufman wrote the words for the movie. It has many famous people acting, like Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper. Some other actors help too. The story is about Charlie Kaufman trying hard to turn a real book called "The Orchid Thief" into a movie. He has a hard time writing it. There is also a made-up story about Charlie's made-up twin brother being a writer too. The movie has many things that did not happen in real life, like a love story and other surprises. People liked the movie a lot. They said good things about how it was made, the fun parts, and the actors, especially Nicolas Cage, Chris Cooper, and Meryl Streep. The movie got prizes at important movie parties – Chris Cooper got a prize for acting, and Charlie Kaufman got a prize for his writing. A lot of people think it is one of the best movies from the 2000s. The movie tells about Charlie Kaufman who is not happy with himself. He must write a movie story from the book "The Orchid Thief". He feels bad and scared around people, and does not think much of himself. His brother Donald lives in his house without paying. Donald wants to write movies, too, and goes to learn from a teacher named Robert McKee. Charlie wants to make a good movie story that is just like the book. But he thinks the book cannot be turned into a movie. He tries very hard, but he cannot write the story. He is late to give his story to the movie people and is very worried about it.

Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur
There is a big school in Jaipur, India, called Malaviya National Institute of Technology. People also call it MNIT or NIT Jaipur. It is for learning things like engineering, science, and how to run a business. This school started in 1963. At first, it was named Malaviya Regional Engineering College. In 2002, it got the name it has now. Since 2007, it has been very important for learning about technology in India. A man named V.G. Garde helped start the school. At the beginning, students learned about building, electricity, machines, and metals. They studied for five years. But in 1983, they changed it to four years. Now, students get a degree called B.Tech. The school is run by a group called the Senate and gets money from the government in India. It is a special place for learning and getting better at technology.

Mormon cinema
Mormon movies are special films for people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some movies are made by people in this church but don't talk about church things. Church movies are different because they teach and are not for making money. Mormon movies want to entertain people and maybe make money too. A long time ago, people in this church started to make their own movies. In the year 2000, a movie called "God's Army" made lots of people want to watch Mormon movies. These movies are usually funny and talk about church life. They are made for church people to enjoy, but sometimes other people like them too. People who go to this church usually make the movies. There are many ways to watch these movies: in cinemas, by themselves, or on DVD. Even though not many new Mormon movies are made now, some still come out. They often tell stories about church history or church life today. These films also talk about being close to God.