TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Belmonte’

TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Belmonte’

Belmonte is Javi Belmonte (Gonzalo Delgado), a Uruguayan single dad who’s also a successful living painter. There’s a running gag in Belmonte where some minor characters call him by his last name.

The movie is writer-director Federico Veiroj’s fourth feature and isn’t the best entry point for newcomers. The first half focuses on Belmonte’s family and work routine which could be occasionally lulling.

There’s enough moments of this film of Belmonte going to the opera and running into his father (Tomas Wahrmann). And it takes a while for Veiroj to spice those scenes up.

Although a lot of that routine involves Belmonte sending time with his daughter Celeste (Olivia Molinaro Eijo). Eijo is great in the role as one of the people criticizing his work.

And Celeste helps audiences remember that in this fictional world where a painter can support a family. And yet, he still has to defend or contextualize his work to the world.

That world includes his family. Celeste, young and curious, is picking up on his themes. His ex Jeanne (Jeanette Sauksteliskis) also works on his catalog and he’s ambivalent about that.

Veiroj also gets some dynamism in this second half, adding surrealist moments, switching up cuts and colour palettes. Those reflect Belmonte’s slightly lapsing state of mind without really resorting to ‘artist’ cliches.

Those moments come in way too late though. Watching someone keep it together should be compelling regardless of what they do for a living. Veiroj takes the joy out of that struggle.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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