Reviews for May 6th, 2009
Directed by Carlos Sorín.
In Spanish with subtitles. Antonio (Antonio Larreta), an elderly writer, lives in his secluded country house where he lays sick and bedridden. Two housekeepers (Maria del Carmen Jimenez and Emilse Roldan) take care of his basic needs such as feeding him, giving him his medication, watering his garden and washing his clothes. He awaits the imminent arrival of his son, Pablo (Jorge Diez), who’s now a successful pianist and hasn’t been in touch with him for many years. When one of the housekeepers asks him what she should cook for his son to eat for dinner, he admits that he doesn’t know what kind of food he likes, and, in a dryly comedic response, she replies that he’s probably vegetarian like most people who live in Europe. The first half of the film shows Antonio as he and his housekeepers merely prepare for Pablo’s arrival. A doctor (Arturo Goetz) briefly comes to check up on his health and advises him to be checked into the hospital, which he refuses to do. Director/co-writer Carlos Sorín includes plenty of symbolism that enriches a deceptively minimal plot that actually has many hidden layers of emotion lurking beneath it, much like in Sorín’s previous theatrical releases, Bonbón, El Perro and Intimate Stories. For example, Antonio has an old piano that needs fine-tuning and, according to a piano tuner (Roberto Rovira) who shows up, some of its parts need to be replaced. That piano, metaphorically, represents Antonio’s deteriorating mental and physical state during his senescence. A recurring dream that he has about a babysitter represents his nostalgia for his days of youth. In another scene, a bee buzzes on a window inside the house and Antonio opens the window to let it out. That action becomes a metaphor for Antonio’s yearn for escape and tranquility, which he more explicitly shows when he wanders off into the open fields surrounding his house, around the same time that Pablo arrives with his work-obsessed, impatient wife, Claudia (Carla Peterson). The second half of the film shows the interactions between Antonio and Pablo, although Sorín doesn’t dwell too much on those scenes or include revealing insights, which allows for you to contemplate for yourself why he has remained distant from his father for so long. Sorín includes lush cinematography and no musical score that give a very organic, slice-of-life feel to the film. Admittedly, it does takes a lot of patience to feel truly absorbed by the slow-moving plot where much of the action takes place beneath its surface, so-to-speak, but it’s a rewarding experience for those who do have patience. At a running time of only 85 minutes, The Window manages to be lyrical and quietly moving with lush cinematography and a sensitive, intelligent screenplay. Preceded by The Bather, a very imaginative 3-minute film, directed by Goerge Griffin, that has some lively animation.Number of times I checked my watch: 1 Released by Film Movement. Opens at the Film Forum.