This review was originally published as part of our Toronto International Film Festival coverage on 16/09/2018.
Diamantino cannot really be pinned down as one genre. Mixing sci-fi, comedy, fantasy and much more, it follows Diamantino, a disgraced football star who is attempting to get his mojo back. On his search for redemption he confronts the refugee crisis, genetic modification, neo-fascism, giant puppies and the hunt for the source of the genius.
The film makes use of green screen footage and special effects to create some stunning (and very weird) imagery, a particularly memorable moment showing Diamantino running through a football field of giant Pekingese puppies as he focuses on winning the game. Narrated by Diamantino (a wonderful performance from Portuguese actor Carloto Cotta), it feels like we’re in his head for much of the film as he cheerfully chatters away about how he feels when he plays football, encountering refugees for the first time and accidentally being investigated for fraud by the government.
The characters take on a fairytale quality in their performances, from the lovably naïve Diamantino, to his evil twin sisters who abuse him at every chance, to the off the hinges scientist attempting to capture his genius and make clones of the football star to build the world’s strongest football team.
It’s a film that’s more rewarding to watch the less you know about it, but for the number of characters and plotlines that have the potential to spin off into nothing from the beginning, co-directors Daniel Schmidt and Gabriel Abrantes do well to keep all aspects relevant and related to Diamantino’s character, who is the centre of the story.
A wild ride from start to finish, with gorgeous and inventive compositing and a lovably naïve character at the centre of it all, Diamantino is the modern day fairytale response to celebrity culture that you never knew you needed.
CAST: Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira, Carla Maciel
WRITERS: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
DIRECTORS: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
SYNOPSIS: Diamantino, the world’s premiere soccer star, loses his special touch and ends his career in disgrace. Searching for a new purpose, the international icon sets off on a delirious odyssey where he confronts neo-fascism, the refugee crisis, genetic modification, and the hunt for the source of genius.