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Theatrical Release of Federico Veiroj's THE APOSTATE

  • Anthology Film Archives 32 2nd Avenue New York, NY, 10003 United States (map)

With Álvaro Ogalla, Marta Larralde, Bárbara Lennie, Vicky Peña, Juan Calot, Kaiet Rodríguez, and Andrés Gertrudix. Distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures.

The latest film by Uruguayan film programmer-turned-director Federico Veiroj – this time shooting in Madrid – The Apostate is a typically wry, bemused, yet sharply perceptive character study. Veiroj’s protagonist, Gonzalo, is an earnest young man struggling with the transition from youth to adulthood, as well as with a complicated relationship with his lovely cousin Pilar. Channeling his confusions and frustrations into a quixotic mission to become an apostate from the Catholic Church (i.e., to formally remove his name from the baptismal records), he finds himself locked in a pitched bureaucratic struggle with that most powerful and unyielding of institutions.

By turns seriously philosophical and irreverently funny, The Apostate is anchored by an extraordinary, deeply satisfying performance from nonprofessional actor Álvaro Ogalla; that Ogalla is playing a version of himself only begins to explain his hilariously deadpan, soulful screen presence. While Veiroj’s tone may be more gently ironic than that of Luis Buñuel (his spiritual forebear), The Apostate nonetheless traces in bracing fashion the competing forces of conformity and rebellion, spiritual yearning and carnal desire, at war within us all.

The Apostate recalls Buñuel’s cinema in its deadpan approach to perversion and senseless desire, its dearth of delineation between reality and reverie, and its curious mixture of irreverence and almost fetishistic fascination with the rites and institutional mysteries of Catholicism. With the exception of Hong Sang-soo, I cannot think of another filmmaker since Jim Jarmusch or Aki Kaurismäki in their early work who is so devoted to nurturing such beguilingly low-key, highly stylized comedy.” – José Teodoro, Film Comment