Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
In this droll, elegantly realised comedy of Spanish slackerdom, Gonzalo, a charmingly feckless 30-something intellectual of negligible achievement, whiles away his days in indolent pleasures, not least fantasising about sex with his childhood sweetheart, who happens to be his cousin. Gonzalo’s other ambition is just as forward-looking: he wants to have his baptism annulled from the records of the Catholic Church. It was his parents’ doing, after all, and involuntary on his part. He becomes increasingly activated by the perverse pleasure he discovers in the Kafkaesque adventure of footing his way around the bureaucratic conundrums thrown in his path. Uruguayan director Federico Veiroj (A Useful Life, NZIFF10) characterises himself as a Jew from Montevideo making a film about a Catholic from Madrid. He takes to his film’s archaic setting with a fresh eye and revels in the arcane dogmatic theology of his protagonist’s nemesis. Handsome and dishevelled, Álvaro Ogalla as Gonzalo is both a friend of the filmmaker and, we’re told, a model for the character he’s playing. While the portrait of his niftily deferred identity crisis rings true, the warmth of affectionate satire is unmistakable.