According to some, there are two kinds of actors. There are the ones who dedicate their whole lives to studying the masters, tackling the most difficult works and only appear in worthy plays and productions. Then there are the pretty boys who become heartthrobs and leads, whose personas and image are often considered more important than their ability. Today, there tends to be an overlap between these two worlds, tackled playfully in Official Competition.
Humberto Suárez (José Luis Gómez) is approaching the end of his life and ruminating on what he’ll leave behind. The billionaire entrepreneur decides that his legacy will be a film, and he must have the best. Hiring the esteemed director Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz) to adapt an award-winning (and very expensive) novel. She casts Hollywood heartthrob Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas) and renowned thespian Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez) as her leads. Fermenting the friction between them to drive their performances.
Official Competition is a dizzyingly inventive lampooning of the film industry and the cult of ego. It takes a little time to get in tune with the rhythm but Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s film oscillates between cutting satire and almost surrealist observational comedy. The stars are clearly having a whale of a time and the directing duo never let their audience become too comfortable. Official Competition is a riotous piece of navel-gazing.
Official Competition is out in US cinemas on 17 June.