Review: Diamantino is a kitschy and queer satire of nationalism

Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt's midnight movie reflects back this surreal moment when the world is simultaneously becoming more closed off and more open


DIAMANTINO (Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt). 96 minutes. Subtitled. See listing. Rating: NNNN


Diamantino is a kitschy and queer midnight movie about a disgraced (and clueless) Portuguese soccer star named Diamantino (Carloto Cotta, hilariously channelling Cristiano Ronaldo) who adopts a secret agent disguised as a refugee (Cleo Tavares). A stunning opening sequence featuring hallucinatory scenes of giant fluffy puppies frolicking in pink candy clouds not only sets an artful yet wacky tone, but becomes a driving metaphor for Diamantino’s political awakening. What follows is a zeitgeisty political satire that largely takes on the rise of nationalism, plus celebrity adoption, exoticism, masculinity and pro sports as a front for conservative ideology.

Nothing about this film is subtle (one character is named Dr. Lamborghini) thanks in large part to a coterie of campy villainous women. Perhaps the most subversive throughline is Diamantino’s ambiguous sexuality and expressions of unmitigated vulnerability. His childlike demeanour is a subject of scorn but the filmmakers suggest, refreshingly, it’s his greatest asset. Diamantino gleefully reflects back this surreal moment when the world is simultaneously becoming more closed off and more open.

@kevinritchie

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