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SERIES / REVIEWS Spain

Series review: Bellas Artes

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- Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn once again take on the most universal miseries of the modern world with help from a cast that rises to the occasion

Series review: Bellas Artes
Óscar Martínez in Bellas Artes

Anyone familiar with the audiovisual work of the always caustic duo of Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn will discover in the series Bellas Artes, which Movistar Plus+ premieres in Spain on 11 April, a continuation of their usual irony and criticism. As the former did in My Masterpiece [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gastón Duprat
film profile
]
and both in The Artist [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, they once again dissect with wit the widely accepted (and even applauded) stupidities, scams and foolishness of the art world. They once again have a resident actor in their work (the also Argentinian Óscar Martínez, who was with them in The Distinguished Citizen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, for which he won the Volpi Cup in Venice) and give fundamental importance to the spaces where the action takes place, as in their last film released in cinemas, Official Competition [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

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If in that marvel of black humour, it was the atmosphere of the cinema, with its ridiculousness, rivalries, carelessness and egos that came off badly (thanks to the involvement of stars who knew how to laugh openly at themselves, such as Martínez himself plus Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz), now it is that of modern art that undergoes the filmmakers' savage surgery. However, these fields could easily alternate and the result would be practically the same.

In both titles architecture features heavily, even repeating elements such as sculptures that fly over the actors' heads and design lines that get lost in the horizon. The characters are left inside a huge stage that is reminiscent of those puppet boxes operated with strings that used to distract children in squares and parks.

Because all, absolutely all the characters in Bellas Artes are wimps shaken by the emptiness of the times we live in, which is why (warning!) we can all see ourselves reflected in this series. The protagonist, Antonio Dumas (played by Martínez), is defined as "male, mature, white and heterosexual", as well as - may we add - reserved, cynical and conceited in his professional decisions and personal relationships (his only friend is called Borges and is... a cat), who is selected to run a museum in Madrid. There he will have a dedicated secretary (played by the always magnificent Aixa Villagrán, recently seen in La Mesías [+see also:
series review
trailer
series profile
]
and who was the discovery of another series that also slapped social stupidity, Perfect Life [+see also:
series review
trailer
series profile
]
), a right-hand man and commissioner as much a fashion victim as a snob (Koldo Olabarri) and a minister above him (another great, Ana Wagener), with whom our man will have everything but connection, empathy and chemistry.

With these elements, screenwriter Andrés Duprat has strung together more or less brilliant gags, more or less predictable/original and more or less well resolved, about human folly and its usual (and endless) manifestations. That is why the six 30-minute episodes directed by Martin Bustos (screenwriter of a previous series by the creative duo, El encargado) are full of smiles and pace, with brief but inspiring appearances from José Sacristán, Ángela Molina, Fernando Albizu, Dani Rovira and, in one of its most hilarious scenes, Melina Matthews.

Bellas Artes is a Movistar Plus+ original series produced by Gloriamundi and Historias Particulares AIE. Movistar Plus+ International will distribute the series internationally (except in Latin America). It will be released in its entirety simultaneously in Latin America on Star+.

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(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)

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