Piperno’s first feature is a Slow Arthouse Being John Malkvich, the least fun version imaginable of a story about discovering portals between a cruise ship, a city apartment in Uruguay, and a shed in rural Philippines.
Window Boy is a cruise ship flunky who constantly shirks his duties and has nothing going on. The woman who lives in the apartment is less afraid of the intruder than she is curious about Window Boy’s origins and wanting to use the portal herself. And the guy who discovers the shed is afraid of its power after dreaming that a snake ate his family, so plots to destroy it (but not before slaughtering some animals on-camera to summon the spirits, argh). And again… if that description sounds enticing, imagine the slowest, most uneventful version of it.
He’s not called Window Boy because he peers through ladies’ windows, that’s a red herring:
Apartment Lady would also like to visit a cruise ship:
A Rotterdance selection from Uruguay. Belmonte is a morose painter who does good business selling morose nudes to rich people. He would like to spend more time with his daughter, but it’s complicated with the pregnant ex-wife. Belmonte has grave concerns about his parents, the business his brother runs, the opera, family and acquaintances he meets at the opera, his daughter, and an upcoming exhibit. He’s kind of prickly and no fun to be around… but the movie has some nice colored lights sometimes, and it’s short.
Veiroj’s fourth feature – two others have more promising descriptions. Lead actor Gonzalo Delgado has also been an art director, writer, you name it. Played in Rotterdam 2019’s “Voices” section with Knife+Heart, The Mountain, Genesis, and Cities of Last Things. Dan Sallitt loved this and Grass, so I’m having a very Sallitt-approved week.
Michael Sicinski in Cinema Scope:
What makes Belmonte rather unique is the fact that, at least for most of the film, it avoids the clichés of the creative life. Instead, Veiroj treats art as labour, coextensive with the demands of fatherhood and other familial duties … Veiroj is Uruguay’s leading auteur at this point, and as with his earlier film A Useful Life (which centered on a cinematheque programmer), Belmonte is a sensitive examination of the ins and outs of a life in the arts.