Diamantino (2018)

Diamantino
Director: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Writer: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Cast: Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira, Carla Maciel, Chico Chapas, Hugo Santos Silva, Joana Barrios, Filipe Vargas, Maria Leite, Manuela Moura Guedes
Seen on: 11.2.2019
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Content Note: cissexism

Plot:
Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) is a successful soccer player. Self-involved and naive, he doesn’t really know what the world is like. So when he sees a boat full of refugees from his yacht one day, it is an eye-opening experience for him and one that unbalances him so much that he misses the winning shot in the Soccer World Cup, effectively ending his career and making him a laughing stock. Nevertheless, he decides that he wants to help by adopting a refugee child. When he announces that plan on TV, spy Aisha (Cleo Tavares), who is investigating Diamantino for tax fraud, takes advantage of it and disguises herself as a refugee boy, Rahim, to be adopted by Diamantino. And she is not the only taking advantage of his naivete – Diamantino’s twin sisters (Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira) have their own plans for him.

Diamantino is a film full of creative and fun ideas with a fantastic protagonist, puppies and a pretty straight-forward antifascist political message. And yet, it didn’t come together for me, unfortunately.

The film poster showing a pink diamond shape emerging from a soccer ball that is placed in pink mist. Four dogs are rising next to the shape on pink clouds like rockets. within the shapes are the main characters of the film, biggest Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) with a stunned facial expression.

[SPOILERS]

Diamantino throws a lot of things at the audience and some of those things are absolutely wonderful and others don’t work as intended. Often it’s a mix of both. The film’s starting point is a group of refugees who are conveniently forgotten as soon as the plot is underway, which I found problematic.

The adoption story was really perfectly executed – until it suddenly takes a turn into romance territory which was absolutely creepy and uncalled for. Especially since the film makes it clear that Aisha is a lesbian. But by that point, Diamantino got breasts (due to genetic experimentation) and that fact alone makes him, apparently, enough of a woman for a lesbian to fall in love with him. This cissexist crap should have stayed out of the film. I mean, maybe Aisha is actually bi or pan and would have fallen in love with Diamantino no matter the state of his upper body, but that is not the way the folm framed that paricular storyline. No, the breasts became basically a punishment for Diamantino and their presence alone made him a woman, more or less. That is not how you subvert gender or play around with it.

Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) playing soccer in a pink, glittering cloud against huge fluffy dogs.

Despite that, there was enough in the film that was mind-blowingly strange in a fun way to make it a rather enjoyable romp. If you ever wanted a soccer match with puppies in a pink, glittering cloud, I have excellent news for you. And Diamantino – perfectly portrayed by Cotta – is a great character and a wonderful example of going against toxic masculinity (from what I gather, unlike the rapist Cristiano Ronaldo Diamantino is modeled after, at least regarding looks).

Despite not everything working about the film, it is too wild and strange to really miss – I’d still recommend watching it. Just be prepared for the sucky parts.

Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) in his bed with bedsheets with his own face on them.

Summarizing: fun despite issues.

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