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I recently saw this at the 2009 Palm springs International Film Festival. This is a beautiful film from Argentinian writer/director Carlos Sorin and beautifully shot on location in the Patagonian countryside by cinematographer Julian Apezteguia. Antonio (Antonio Larreta) is an old man living on his old country estate with his two nurses (Maria del Carmen Jimenez) (Emilse Roldan) and has recently suffered a heart attack. He is bedridden and on an ICV and his country doctor wants him admitted to a hospital. Antonio's son who is a world renowned pianist is coming from Spain to see his ailing father for possibly the last time. Antonio has had a dream about the baby sitter he had as a child and 80 years later he doesn't know why he has had the dream or what it may mean. A piano tuner has been summoned by Antonio to tune the old family piano that hasn't been played in decades in case his son wants to play it. He has also summoned up from the wine cellar a 40 year old bottle of champaign that he and his late wife have been saving for a special occasion. This film is sparse on dialog and very little happens in the film but it is such a poignant small film and almost like a theatrical play that you will find it enchanting. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10 and recommend it.
LA VENTANA (THE WINDOW) is a gentle masterpiece of cinema written and
directed by Carlos Sorin. It is about living and dying and how,
hopefully, we all can approach that last day on earth. Filmed in
Argentina's Patagonia by cinematographer Julian Apezteguia with an
emphasis on sunshine and landscape this little film humbly presents the
final day of living of 80-year-old writer Antonio (Antonio Larreta) who
has been confined to bed in his home after a heart attack (his warmly
caring doctor advises him to be hospitalized, but Antonio seems to
appreciate the futility of that move). He is attended by two women -
María del Carmen (María del Carmen Jiménez) and Emilse (Emilse Roldán)
- who prepare his meals and his medications and cut his hair and keep
his old home clean. Antonio is frisky and more than anything wants to
walk in his vegetable garden he watches through his bedside window. He
calls upon a piano tuner to tune his ancient piano in preparation for
the visit of his son Pablo (Jorge Díez), a famous concert pianist, who
is due to arrive with his girlfriend Claudia (Carla Peterson) after a
very long absence. Antonio finally decides to take a walk in his garden
and his land, longing to once again feel a part of nature. He stumbles,
is unable to get up, and is found by neighbors who bring him home.
After seeing his son, and after recalling a repeated dream of the
lovely woman who served as his nanny, Antonio simply goes to sleep,
happy and serene.
There is no story to this beautiful film, Instead it is just a day in the life of a man who has lived a good life and accepts his dying with great dignity and happiness. Each of the actors in this elegy is perfect for the simple roles. But it is the performance by Antonio Larreta under Carlos Sorin's direction that makes this film soar, quietly and with profound respect for the art of living and of dying. It is a little masterpiece.
"La ventana," Carlos Sorin's beautiful film from Argentina deserves a wider audience than is evidenced by the responses at IMDb. This is a very sensitive and beautiful look at the coming of death. Nothing is overly stated, overly done. It reminds me of "Mother and Son" by Sokurovv in it's beauty, quiet, and lack of the need for narrative. The cinematography is beautiful. There are many characters who greatly add to the authenticity of the story yet the film does not get distracted by trying to do more than is necessary to tell a universal truth about the human condition. This film has an audience but it is probably very limited. I highly recommend "La ventana."
My local library was showing this film for movie night, but I decided to rent it for myself and view it at home. Glad I did. La Ventana is a mellow film, very relaxing to watch, but melancholy just the same. The facial expressions of the actors made them mesmerizing to watch. The landscape shots were beautiful. At one point I stopped the movie to see where it was filmed (Argentina). Even my husband and son, who prefer mindless shooting movies, were walking by and just sat on the sofa with me and watched. It's not a fast moving or an action film, it's poignant in that it depicts an infirm elderly man at the end of his life, what's going through his mind, and those around him. Very captivating film that draws you in. It starts off slow, but progresses nicely.
The film is slow paced in the starting but it definitely takes you to a
great ride and you will feel good when you are in the middle of the
film. Although I do feel that the ending might have been better but
then thinking what I would think of the ending, I cannot come to any
idea. So probably this was the best ending after all. I would point out
that there is no specific soundtrack for most of the time and just the
sound of the ticking of the clock when they are inside the room. And
you would not even notice it because the acting of the lead is so
gripping that I have seen in recent times. There is simplicity in the
film. No rush in anything, the director has chosen to approach the idea
slowly and effectively. And then also the length of the film is short.
This film is like a creative art and like those paintings whose worth
everyone cannot understand.
"A definite onetime watch for all film lovers."
Argentina's favorite theme is presented here: Déclassé Fairytale. With
emphasis on that golden prewar era.
In this rendition an 80 year old man who himself would have been a child in that golden era is dying he is looking forward to the visit of his son an international pianist (of course). The 80 year old father is an author with signed first editions of Borges (of course).
The whole story is a day in his life.
Still it is an accurate look at rural life in Argentina as well as death and dying even if it does involve an estancia and other icons of these pseudo intellectual déclassé fairy tales.
It is short pretty good if somewhat depressing.
"The Window" is about an elderly man living a slow-paced life on a
ranch in Argentina. It is contemporary -- about 2010. It's in Spanish
with English subtitles. Acting is terrific -- I completely forgot that
it was a movie. The cinematography and views of the Argentinian ranch
are lovely, the people and their relationships enjoyable to watch. This
is a slice of life movie, giving the viewer a peek into another world.
As not a great deal happens, some viewers might be bored. And I'm not sure why I wasn't. I just enjoyed watching these people live a very different life from my own and being filmed so beautifully. If you like "The Red Balloon," you will probably like this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an understated and poignant Argentinian film, directed by the
acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Sorin.
Antonio Larreta is superb as Antonio, an elderly man who has recently suffered a heart attack and is virtually bedridden. I could empathize with his anguish as feels like a useless old man, as he describes it, who has lost his independence. He awaits the arrival of his son Pablo, whom he hasn't seen in a number of years, and who is now a famous pianist living in Europe.
Maria del Carmen Jiminez also gives a strong performance as Antonio's head housekeeper, as does Emilse Roldan as a young nurse and aide. In the movie, there are also a number of fine and quirky performances from supporting players which add well to the mix.
As Antonio's frustration rises, he finally decides to take his attached IV bag and venture outside, avoiding his caretakers, to check on his vegetable garden. He eventually wanders in the surrounding fields of his home. Here, the cinematography is quite spectacular, as you get an instant feel of the beauty of the Argentinian countryside.
However, all of this activity becomes too much for Antonio, as he collapses into the high grass. He is eventually found by two women cyclists, who summon help for him. As he is taken home to try and recover and meet his son, the story cascades into a very touching finale.
I really liked this film. I thought the acting, directing, and writing was all first rate and that it was filled with wonderful little touches of humanness, along with extraordinary cinematography.
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