Genre and gender blur in Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt idiosyncratic debuts that's an absolute joyous ride

Film Review by Ben Nicholson | 10 May 2019
  • Diamantino
Film title: Diamantino
Director: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Starring: Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira
Release date: 10 May
Certificate: 15

In the World Cup Final, Portuguese striker Diamantino (Carloto Cotta), the greatest footballer on the planet, misses a last-gasp penalty and chaos ensues. His father dies, he adopts a male African refugee who is actually a female uncover tax investigator, he is co-opted into an anti-EU campaign, and he is experimented on by the government. If all this sounds like a bit too much, well that’s exactly what Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s genre- and gender-bending goofy satirical comedy is going for.

Cotta plays the lead as somewhere between Cristiano Ronaldo and Forrest Gump: a national icon and multimillionaire pin-up with an empty head and a heart of gold. The film veers intentionally wildly between touching empathy and the vulgarity of fame, between cutesy sentiment and slapstick sci-fi thriller, between raging nationalist politics and adorable imaginary giant Pekinese who help the hero on the pitch, not to mention the darling kitten Mittens.

Form, tone, narrative and gender all slide around the backseat as Abrantes and Schmidt career down various winding roads, but the result is an absolutely joyous ride brimming with charm and humanity.