Yoshua is, well, he's an alien, living in South Central LA. He's blue, furry, and silent. He's gentle, but at the same time, people see him as a threat simply because he's an alien. He's got an incredible group of friends, four high school kids who are his little band of friends, who defend him, and at the same time, are trapped with him. There's Prop 139, a "Humans Only" proposition, and the round-up of the aliens that are on Earth.
Can you sense the metaphor? Good, because it's important.
The world we live in is more like the one in Yoshua then we'd like ot believe. The idea that we can outlaw an entire way of being, that we can round-up and imprison beings for being from somewhere else. At the same time, it's a story of love, of agape and eros and philios, and about resillience, the resourceful nature of those under attack. It is the story of Anne Frank, of SB 1070. It is a story that is as powerful as it is beautiful. The design of Yoshua is not naturalistic at all, he resembles a Muppet, but the world in which he lives, in which he hides, is utterly real, gritty, raw. The acting by the four friends is incredible, a combination of smart choices to play at varying levels of intensity and self-reflection. There is so much to the inter-relationships within the group of four, how each interacts with each other, with Yosh, with their future. While yes, there is a massive furry blue alien at the heart of the story, there are human stories that populate this films, both big and small, but all meaningful.
Yoshua is a film that makes you see today as today is for so many, by taking you part of the out of today, placing you in a different place. This is our world, with one difference, and that difference is only how they show their unwanted, their hunted class of beings. That's a painful thought for me personally, a chunk of my family having been the feared blue alien in a world that wants to round them up, take them away. This is today, and Yoshua, a film that rides the line between fantasy and science fiction and out-and-out social realism, makes us painfully aware of that. Even when we have been taken away, we can not look at Yoshua and not see this place, our place, and this moment.
You can see Yoshua as a part of the Mindbenders showing at 3Below on FRI 3/2; 11:30PM and FRI 3/9; 9:00PM, and at the Century Redwood City on MON 3/5; 5:30PM and SAT 3/10; 10:20PM (RWC 10)