AKA: La Ventana
Year Released: 2009
Distributor: Film Movement
Running Time: 86 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
For Fans Of: Ikiru, Amador, Found Memories
-Three of the characters share the same first names as their actors.
-This film was created by Carlos Sorin who’s also filmed Historias Minimas which also takes places in the Patagonia much like The Window.
For starters, no, this movie has nothing to do with that old film noir movie by RKO Pictures.
I wanted to watch some more Argentinian films after enjoying Eva Doesn’t Sleep, so I added The Window to my queue. It was even shorter than most full-length films, so it could be a painless watch.
The Window deals a man named Don Antonio. He’s over eighty years old, and is bedridden in this large pink house called San Juan. Antonio has a dream of seeing some woman who was his babysitter when he was a child, but he could never remember the name or her face. He is constantly being taken care of by some maids and other caretakers and he has a son Pablo who moved to Europe who’s been successful as a pianist. It takes place over one day, and on this day, Antonio wants to see his vast garden and farmland. He can’t go anywhere without an IV, so Antonio barely exits his own room.
I will give Carlos Sorin props, this film looks beautiful. Sure, there may be better looking movies, but the idyllic rural Argentinian setting is gorgeous with the outdoor shots. I wanted to walk around the San Juan grounds while watching The Window. Even the indoor scenes inside the San Juan compound looked great. It reminded me of a fancy hacienda despite being used to house a gravely ill man. All the people involved in filming should get a cinematography award for their efforts. The acting was quite good. I will give Don Antonio’s actor lots of credit. I didn’t just see this performance with his facial expressions and body language, I felt the emotions of an old man who’s accepted his fate and just smiles despite his condition. His dream of seeing the outside of his house was simple, yet great. Antonio is no longer angry at anything or anyone despite being stubborn in wanting to see the Patagonian landscape right out his window (hence the title). His life is dull with him being in bed most of the day, reading, eating, being changed, and typing on his computer. You could feel the austere environment and you do want him to finally go outside.
With what I just typed you would think that this would be a surefire classic about life. That’s not the case. The Window does have quality things about it, but I wish the other aspects of the movie were as good as the acting and cinematography. I do think it was cool how they pulled off a day-long story in a little over an hour, but I felt so many things were lacking. Some of the characters were very underdeveloped such as Pablo and Roberto the piano tuner. You never find out all the reasons why Pablo was estranged from his father decades ago other than his piano exploits. I never felt that there was any bad blood between the father and son. Roberto did have some indirect effects of the plot since he’s the main one who lets Antonio leave the house and he tunes the old Steinway that catches Antonio’s attention, but he just felt more like a plot device instead of a character. Also, am I the only one who thinks Roberto looks like a mix between George Lucas and Jerry Garcia? Sure, Claudia (Pablo’s wife and Don Antonio’s daughter-in-law) has a spoiled character and is concerned about her cell phone not getting reception in the countryside, but not many other characters had some traits.
I can handle slow and contemplative dramas, but I felt the plot was thin when I really analyzed this film. There weren’t that many personalities and despite it’s short length, it felt a lot longer than it should have been. I wish there would have been more of a storyline and backstories with some of the other characters. The scenery is still pretty, but I wish there would have been more substance besides Don Antonio’s story arc and the images from the ending. The ending scene is heartwarming and the context around them is good, but I wish the whole movie had more depth.
The Window is an alright drama, but it could have been so much more. The visuals are quite splendid and Don Antonio does have a legitimate character, but I wish they could have embellished most of the other characters in this story. There are some heartwarming moments, but I think it does over-rely on sentimentality at several points. It’s certainly better than a Hallmark movie, but The Window isn’t a top-caliber piece.
Adjustable Point System:
Add 2-3 points if you like quality cinematography
Add 1-2 points if you like stories that contemplate about life
-Beautiful visuals and scenery
-Don Antonio’s character and goals
-Lack of character development
-Lack of a major story
Final Score: 4/10 points
Content Warning: There weren’t many objectionable things in The Window. It would get a PG, but most younger viewers would be really bored with the concept of the film. The worst thing that happens is Don Antonio urinating in the field, but that scene ends in seconds.
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