THE WINDOW (Carlos Sorin, 2008)

Vaguely reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries (1957) and Cries and Whispers (1972) and Theodoris Angelopoulos’s Eternity and a Day (1998), Carlos Sorin’s Argentinean La ventana, filmed in color in Patagonia, has its Bergmanian clock ticking away time, with the tuning of a piano aurally augmenting this sound of mortality. (An old Bergmanian trick: Sorin sometimes amplifies the clock’s beat.) Elderly Antonio, who has suffered a heart attack, is attended to by his nurse and a servant; he is approaching death. Nevertheless, he steals away, IV-drip in hand, for a solitary walk in the surrounding fields. Urinating on the grassy ground makes him smile with contentment; perhaps he is recalling childhood. (Black-and-white inserts of perhaps infant recollections are ineffective, however. Moreover, the otherwise use of color is a pointless, tasteless mistake.) In a long-shot we see Antonio descending into the waves of grass; is he lying down or collapsing? He is rescued from drowning and returned home in time for the visit of his son and daughter-in-law, whom he is meeting for the first time. This isn’t a close family. The daughter-in-law, who doesn’t seem even to comprehend the seriousness of the event she has come into, obsesses over retrieving a cell phone signal so that she can make and receive business calls: an encapsulation of the heartlessness of the current age. (Sorin lacks Abbas Kiarostami’s wit in The Wind Will Carry Us, 1999.) As it turns out, Daughter-in-law’s coldness is mere set-up for the finale. While her husband is conveniently showering, Antonio, exhausted in bed, and his daughter-in-law are left alone together in the near dark. “Are they dancing downstairs?” Antonio, in his own reverie, asks. Daughter-in-law, moved, leans in and kisses her father-in-law’s forehead: the lovely mortal finish to a mostly uninteresting film.


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