Imagine a Roger Moore-era James Bond film where the Bond girl takes the lead role. In fact, she isn’t a girl at all, but rather a vapid yet sweet, gorgeous male soccer player whose life is upended by global conspiracies and familial trauma. This is Diamantino and it has everything: undercover lesbian agents in love, characters posing as nuns and refugees in order to spy on a famous former soccer player; villainous sisters willing to sell out their brother to a fascist government; giant puppies racing across fields of pink clouds; and genetic modification prompted by a Portuguese government using racist propaganda to split from the EU.
Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt create a world that’s as strikingly real as it is fantastic, injecting absurdism into the very real nationalism that has overtaken more than one nation and led to everything from the dissolution of a country to outright massacres. In a way, it’s just as bizarre and ambitious in its critique of how media and fascism intersect as the wrongfully maligned Southland Tales, though scaled down on every level.
Carloto Cotta plays Diamantino Matamouros like the dumbass soccer player with a heart of gold that he is, and there’s something endlessly compelling about the honesty and naivety with which he navigates every situation thrown his way. It would be easy for the filmmakers to simply turn this character into a one-note parody of soccer player Christian Ronaldo, complete with fake underwear campaigns and a six pack that appears on screen as often as possible. But Diamantino has a certain level of empathy for its narcissistic protagonist, making it all the stronger a film.
Diamantino opens Friday, May 31 at MDC’s Tower Theater Miami. More info at www.towertheatermiami.com.
Reposted courtesy of Juan Barquin and Miami New Times