Diamantino, the newest feature film from collaborative directing duo Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, held its North American premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival with great success.
The bonkers film, produced in Portuguese with English subtitles, is an unusually outstanding example of genre-melding, gender-bending and fairy-tale-trope absurdity. If you like whimsical scenery, political satire and Cristiano Ronaldo all wrapped up in an avant-garde package, then this is the movie for you.
Diamantino follows the life of a superstar Portuguese soccer player of the same name, played by Carloto Cotta. He’s an absolute beast on the pitch, until one day, he discovers that refugees exist. His limited intellectual capacity, once devoted to the glorious game, is now filled with images of drowning Africans; he soon quits football to adopt a refugee, which only further enrages his older twin sisters, who also happen to be his managers.
Throw in a ludicrous undercover operation by the Portuguese intelligence agency, an Indiana Jones-style genetic mutation scheme and finally a subversive anti-European Union plot, and you’re left in a state of mental exhaustion from trying to make sense of it all.
Oh, and there’s giant fluffy puppies, too.
The film’s combination of Wes Anderson aesthetics, Coen Brothers kitsch and slapstick humour shouldn’t work, but it does. From start to finish, Diamantino is absolutely surreal and yet incredible timely.
The directors won’t say for certain that the film is a parody of famed real-life Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, but take one look at Diamantino’s heavy diamond studs and identical undercut hairstyle and it’s not hard to make the leap. Also, both Diamantino and Ronaldo have two sisters and both were under investigation (though the former was for fictional money laundering while the latter was for real-life tax evasion). We’re not saying there’s any direct correlation, but….
The less you know about the film before walking in, the better. Diamantino is a journey best taken with an open mind and very little preparation in order to fully appreciate its full range of bizarre absurdism.
However, one of the final scenes does involve a bikini-clad, Lamborghini-driving, sword-wielding undercover agent saving the day — just in case you needed any other reason to see it for yourself.
Learn more and check out the trailer here.