Gonzalo Delgado and Verónica Perrota co-direct, co-write and act in Dolphins Go East, a dysfunctional family comedy-drama from Uruguay presented in the main competition of the 16th Transilvania International Film Festival.
Virginia (Perrota), the quasi-estranged daughter of an outrageously gay and pathetically fading show-biz personality, Miguel Angel Garcia Mazziotti (Jorge Denevi), shows up at his door for a belated reunion. She initially does not get the warm welcome she had perhaps hoped for; Miguel Angel seems to have no time for her and sees her as nothing short of a burden. However, when she shares with him the big news that he is soon to be a grandfather, he takes her into his messy pad full of frills and frocks, and Dolphins Go East begins to chronicle their journey as they attempt to become re-acquainted.
The film is funny and surprisingly touching; its comedic drive mostly revolves around the extroverted Miguel Angel. False pretenses and family values are key themes of the movie; it makes sense for Miguel Angel to initially come across as a stereotype in a story where everyone seems to be putting on an act and constantly lie for one reason or another. This theme is relevant in today’s social media heavy society, but the film points out that this was a thing of the past as well. Miguel Angel was at one time required to repress his homosexuality and act the role of a straight man: Virginia, at one point, was part of that act. His desire to distance himself from his daughter, perhaps, had a lot to do with his desire to distance himself from that part of his life.
Virginia’s pregnancy is a McGuffin that is perhaps best not talked about. She too is having trouble with her beau Dario (Delgado), whom Miguel Angel calls after worrying about his daughter. Dario’s arrival will lead to a final important confrontation.
Stylistically, Dolphins Go East relies primarily on acting and screenplay. As a result, the film has quite a theatrical feel to it and is unable to avoid a fair amount of exposition dialogue to carry the narrative forward. Nonetheless, the acting is quite good: Denevi steals the show, naturally, with the most colourful character in the film and his impeccable comedic timing; you may love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. – ★★★
LAS TONINAS VAN AL ESTE | 2016, Uruguay / Argentina / Germany | Comedy | Directed by – Gonzalo Delgado, Verónica Perrotta / Produced by – Gonzalo Delgado, Verónica Perrotta / Written by – Gonzalo Delgado, Verónica Perrotta / Music by – Maximiliano Silveira / Cinematography by – Arauco Hernández Holz / Editing by – Andrés Tamborino, Pablo Riera / Starring – Verónica Perrotta, Jorge Denevi, Gonzalo Delgado | Running time: 82 mins.