If you were looking to hire a screenwriter and a director for a big-budget alien invasion action film, whom would you pick? Five gets you ten you didn't answer "Lucrecia Martel." Martel is an Argentinian director of tiny, acclaimed independent films like La Ciénaga and The Holy Girl. She is a Pedro Almodóvar protegé who served on the Cannes jury in 2006 and returned there this year with The Woman Without a Head. And she's been tapped to write and direct El eternauta, an elaborate, effects-heavy science-fiction film (based on this comic series) that will follow "a small group of survivors battling alien invaders and their army of giant insects."

Now: filmmakers graduate from smaller to bigger films all the time. That's not remarkable. But Martel is a surprising choice for something like this because of how stubbornly small her movies have been. The Holy Girl, while quite good, was precisely the kind of slow, deliberately obscure psychosexual drama that the general public derisively associates with hoity-toity arthouse cinema. The Woman Without a Head, which I don't think anyone's seen yet, is pitched as a psychological thriller, but it's about "the psychology of a woman after she hits and kills a dog with her car." Up next: killer bugs from outer space. Outstanding!

I'm not making fun: I love when smart, ambitious filmmakers tackle genre films. Hopefully El eternauta will make it stateside.