Having followed Fermín Muguruza's music during much of my teenage years, I was quite excited to see what he could do as a film director in Black is Beltza. That is the reason why it pains me to say that this is one of the absolute worse films I have seen in my life, and there is no reason why you should watch it. With the exception of a decent (but not great) soundtrack, everything about Black is Beltza is pathetically bad.
The thing that stands out most from the beginning of the film is the voice acting. It almost seems as if Fermín Muguruza has hired his worst enemy to be the casting director for the film, that is how laughable some of the choices are. One of the main characters, a member of the Black Panthers from New York, is voiced by an (otherwise very talented) actor from the Ivory Coast. Not only does he not have a New York accent; at points it sounds like he struggles to pronounce certain words. Another character, a woman from Cuba, is voiced by a woman who has the emotion and cadence of someone reading out the instructions of her new food processor. Then there is a Texan character voiced by the usually great Sergi López, who is completely unable of pulling a Texan accent. And the highlight: a character from Québec, voiced by an actor who probably doesn't speak a word of French, and who tries to pull off a Québecois accent by combining some awful French with an even worse American accent. Even non-Francophones at my local cinema were laughing out loud at how terrible his accent was.
Another important issue with this film has to do with its portrayal of women and Spaniards - something that is particularly worrying coming from director Muguruza, who has made a career out of preaching about feminism and anti-racism. There are four women with relatively important roles in this film: two of them are only there to sleep with the main character, one of them is an Algerian minister who of course has enormous breasts and a cleavage to match, and an Israeli spy, who barely says anything in the entire film.
Spanish people get an arguably worse treatment from Muguruza. While all Basques in the film are somewhere between nice and heroic, and so are most other characters, Muguruza seems to have a problem with Spaniards. He portrays a Spain full of racist Francoists, who are not only racist and violent but also terribly dumb. Throughout the entire film, not a single Spanish character does or says anything positive, and they are all so one-dimensional that it becomes hard to believe what Muguruza is trying to tell us.
Finally, the story itself is worth mentioning. Mostly because it is just as bad, if not worse, as the voice acting. In one of the first scenes, a man says that the is impressed by the protagonist's boxing skills, even though we have never seen, or heard about, the protagonist boxing. That is the end of the boxing references, but the awful script-writing will follow us throughout the duration of the film. From that moment on, Black is Beltza is a story about a Basque man travelling to the USA, Cuba, Mexico, Algeria and Québec, being welcomed into the highest echelons of revolutionary movements in each location for no apparent reason, and being told by everyone around him that Basques are great and that if the Basques hadn't helped country X, then country X would never have become independent and free like it is today. In the meantime, the protagonist fights and/or runs away from three very bad guys who just happen to come from the three countries that represent Muguruza's particular axis of terror: Spain, the USA, and Israel. And the reason why these characters insist on chasing the protagonist? Muguruza does not feel the need to explain this to the audience, and the closest thing we get to an explanation is that one of the bad guys wants to steal a trumpet from a friend of the main character.
To conclude: if you find yourself thinking about watching Black is Beltza, stop yourself now! This is an awful, awful film, and a total waste of time.