The Window

"Excellent"

The Window Review


It's not much of a stretch when a film features a succession of loudly ticking clocks that the film will be about the last day of a dying man and not about Frank Miller coming into town on the noon train for a showdown with Gary Cooper. So it will be not giving away too much to reveal that in Carlos Sorin's The Window a sick and feeble old man will die at the film's end and that the movie will be liberally peppered with death images -- the clocks, a shuttered window through which rays of bright light seep through, dream images from 80 years ago. But the elegance of Sorin's Patagonian take on Wild Strawberries is in what Sorin does with these unsurprising images. In The Window these images are not heavy and portentous, but play as a background soundtrack to the sensory impressions and ambiance within the confined spaces of a man's last day on earth. Sorin's plotless film deals with the light and not the shadows, and with an airy leisure and humor that belies the melancholy and foretold destiny of a dying old man.

Uruguayan writer Antonio Lorreta (in a performance of quiet strength and dignity) plays the elderly Don Antonio, flat on his back and all alone except for a couple of hardworking housekeepers and a driver. Don Antonio lives in a large country house far away from the city and must have lorded it over his help in times of health -- although the man is almost helpless now. Sorin indicates what he must have been before by revealing the old man having hidden a key to the liquor pantry in his pocket, claiming his money has been stolen from his book, and exhorting the housekeeper to water his vegetable garden.

This is a big day for Don Antonio. His son, a noted European pianist whom he hasn't seen in years, is coming to visit him, and the housekeepers are buzzing about preparing for the prodigal son's return. As the house staff is busy and preoccupied making arrangements, Don Antonio pulls open his bedroom window, letting the sunlight bathe over him, and he grabs his IV drip, his hat, and his coat and takes a walk into the fields.

Sorin infuses his film with visual landscapes both interior and exterior and deconstructs the final day from dawn to dusk with the symphony of life -- chirping birds, the wind, discordant notes from a piano tuner, even water in the pipes as someone takes a shower. Life is all around Don Antonio and Sorin lets him see and hear it all so that when Don Antonio takes his walk in the field and manages to urinate on his own, he cracks a melancholy smile in bittersweet victory at still being a part of the life all around him.

In the United States, most of the films released about old age and death take on a corny generic track of cranky old men, cute little moppets, and debilitating illnesses that still deliver affirming life messages to the living. Not so in The Window -- Sorin is too much the artist for that. Death for Don Antonio is a reluctantly willing journey of transcendence where cinematic images (a key, a 40-year-old Champagne bottle, a first edition, a toy soldier) become the remaining sparks of precious remaining hours of life. Significantly, at the end of the film, when the old man dies, the last image and sound is of a scratchy and faded film running to its end as if projected through an old camera.

Aka La ventana.

On the hunt for those darn kids.



The Window

Facts and Figures

Run time: 73 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 21st July 1949

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 5

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jose Maria Morales

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