The Apostate

The Apostate poster

The Apostate movie poster

Directed by Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Veiroj and set in Madrid, The Apostate is a weird little comedy following one man’s attempts to become an apostate, which means abandoning a religion and removing oneself from any church records such as baptism, etc. If I say weird, it’s partly because in today’s society this sounds somewhat like an incongruous waste of time as religious records are not as important as they used to be. More importantly this is because this story is based on the director’s real-life friend, Alvaro Ogalla who happens to play his own role here.

Delivering a fearless performance, Alvaro offers the unflattering portrait of a boyish 30ish man who’s, for the most part, a failure:  he’s been unable to graduate despite repeating the same classes several years in a row; he spends most of the day enjoying siestas or listening to records; he sleeps with his cousin; he doesn’t have a job, besides tutoring the kid next door. Alvaro actually reminds me of one of my friends living a similar lifestyle, this immaturity which keeps them stuck in their teenage years also making their charm. While these kinds of characters are annoying to their family and friends, you can’t help being amused by their lack of responsibility but also somewhat being jealous they can still live carefree.

Alvaro’s quest to remove himself from church records is the central thread of the story and, as vain as it sounds, it is what allows him to start moving toward a goal rather than just live passively. This premise will provide him with a life direction which will open new doors for him. The religious aspect of the story is also a way to underline the evolution of Spanish society, the new generation breaking away from old traditions, religious rules and beliefs.

From what I told you, you probably already guessed that The Apostate is quite an absurd, ironical but gentle work, especially as Alvaro becomes a role model for the kid he’s tutoring. There are also a couple surreal moments, dream and hallucination sequences reminiscent of 70’s surreal European movies.

With its running time of 80mn, its casual feel and deadpan humor, The Apostate is unpretentious, light, enjoyable but isn’t for everybody. As I was reading the press notes, I noticed they mentioned a Bunuel influence which most critics ran to quote. To me, Mr. Veiroj is closer to Wes Anderson’s odd universe, which makes him another Latin American filmmaker worth following.

Director: Federico Veiroj – Actors: Alvaro Ogalla, Marta Larralde – Running Time: 1:33 – Year: 2015 – Country: Spain, France, Uruguay
Click here to watch the The Apostate trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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