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TIFF 2018: Diamantino Is The Most Bonkers Film You’ll See At This Year’s Festival

Who’s Behind It

This insane and imaginative debut feature is from directing/writing team Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. The film premiered at Cannes where it won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize and the prestigious Palm Dog Grand Jury Prize. Watch it and you’ll see why.

Who’s In It

Carloto Cotta in the title role as former Portuguese football star Diamantino, Cleo Tavares playing his adopted son/government spy, and twin sisters and scene-stealers Anabela and Margarida Moreira.

Who’ll Love It

People who love leaving a theatre muttering ‘WTF did I just see?’ Anyone with a desktop file labelled “Fluffy Puppies.” Film fans who want to brag about seeing the strangest film at this year’s Festival.

What It’s About

Does Portugal still want to leave the EU? It’s hard to keep up with the spreading plague that is populist politics these days, but Diamantino explores this question (and so, so, so many more) through the naive eyes of its central character, a Cristiano Ronaldo lookalike with tonnes of football talent and next to nothing between his ears. The top athlete and pride of Portugal loves three things: his daddy, football, and fluffy puppies (a herd of which he sees on the pitch every time he’s passed the ball). Completely sheltered from the world by his loving papa, news of the refugee (or “fugee”) crisis hits Diamantino hard and throws him off his game. Abandoned by the puppies, the former sports star decides to quit football and dedicate himself to a new cause — but his evil sisters and a neo-fascist government organization have other ideas.

Why You Should See It

Because it’s totally nuts and completely awesome and a perfect send up of the delirious heights to which we raise modern sports stars only to send them tumbling from their podiums after a single missed penalty kick. The visual gags (including bedding printed with Diamantino’s face that’s reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Cristiano-Ronaldo-decorated hotel in the heart of Lisbon) are plentiful. Beyond that, there’s a sweetness to this bizarre movie that manages to make its impact before becoming too treacly.

When You Can See It

Diamantino screens Saturday, September 15 at 11:59pm at Ryerson Theatre or Sunday, September 16 at 6:00pm and Scotiabank Theatre.