BFI London Film Festival: The Apostate

The Apostate (El apóstata)
Directed by Federico Veiroj
Starring Álvaro Ogalla

by Ruth Thomson

In Spanish existential comedy The Apostate, Gonzalo Tamayo (first time actor Álvaro Ogalla) wants to do something pretty simple. He wants to leave the Catholic church, into which he, along with millions of others, was baptized as an unassuming infant. A chilled out, bearded, cord clad philosophy graduate he is however wrong to assume that this will be a straightforward process. With a traumatized mother (Vicky Pena) insisting he’s bringing shame on the family, and the distraction of his hot cousin Pilar (Marta Larralde) to contend with, it takes all his remaining energy to battle with the Bishop Jorge (Juan Calot) who is immovable in his refusal to hand over Gonzalo’s baptismal record.

The Apostate makes some gentle observations about institutional religion in the twenty first century but doesn’t do too much more. Affable Ogalla is easy to watch and there are some entertaining scenes including a particularly excellent naked dream sequence which tells you where his head’s really at despite all his philosophical meanderings.

The Apostate is a  light ponderous look at faith, philosophy and the modern man.

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