El apóstata [The Apostate] (2015)

El apóstata
Director: Federico Veiroj
Writer: Gonzalo Delgado, Nicolás Saad, Álvaro Ogalla, Federico Veiroj
Cast: Álvaro Ogalla, Bárbara Lennie, Marta Larralde, Vicky Peña, Jaime Chávarri, Joaquín Climent, Juan Calot, Kaiet Rodríguez
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 20.12.2015

Plot:
Gonzalo (Álvaro Ogalla) is far from driven. He’s still a student at university, having pushed off writting his thesis for a while now, he works as a tutor and lives off his parents’ money. He is in love with his cousin Pilar (Marta Larralde). But in one respect, Gonzalo knows exactly what he wants: he wants to leave the catholic church. And not only not participate anymore, he wants his name and data expunged from the parish record. But in Spain that is easier said than done.

El apóstata gave an interesting look at church proceedings in Spain, but other than that I couldn’t really get into it, especially because I hated Gonzalo.

el-apostata

Austria is a catholic country and although I myself was never christened or religious at all, I know a few people who decided to leave the church. Here it is a rather simple, bureaucratic process. In Spain, apparently, things are quite different. Gonzalo has to jump through several hoops, talk to priests who do everything to convince him to stay and finally talk in front of a commission to defend his choice. I don’t know if that’s just the case because he insists on having his parish record expunged as well, or if that’s the general procedure of leaving the church (or if leaving the church consists of having the record expunged), but in any case for an Austrian this seems all very strange.

In the end it becomes a discussion about whether parish records are databases or historical documents. If it is the former, they can and should be updated. With this discussion, interesting parallels can be drawn to the discussion about privacy policies especially regarding the internet: how much right do you have to data that is about you? How much can other people use it and how? If data about you isn’t freely given back, do you have the right to simply take it?

el-apostata1While I did enjoy that topic, what I enjoyed way less but left much more of an impression was Gonzalo. He is insufferably passive when he isn’t being a know-it-all zealot on a mission and for some reason, all of the women in the film throw themselves at him. Well, all except his mother (Vicky Peña). His cousin? Check. His neighbor? Check. A random woman on the bus? Check. Everybody wants him, always. And I really didn’t understand why.

Apart from that – which felt like wish fulfillment on the filmmakers’ part more than anything else – the film also has quite a few lengths and while there are strong scenes every once in a while (including the ending), it just never really came together for me. In the end, it was okay, but it was far from great.

el-apostata2Summarizing: meh.

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