Nocturna: Side A - The Great Old Man's Night Movie Review
Written by Simret Cheema-Innis
Released by Coruya Cine
Written and directed by Gonzalo Calzada
2021, 107 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest UK Premiere on 29th August 2021
Marina Artigas as Madre
Lautaro Delgado as Daniel
Mora Della Veccia as Dalia (Child)
Marilú Marini as Dalia
Jenaro Nouet as Ulises (Child)
Nocturna: Side A - The Great Old Man's Night is a satirical brooding horror that's too close to reality, and director Gonzalo Calzada, does a brilliant job of putting his characters and audience through the ringer.
Ulysses lives in a fairly isolated apartment block. At a hundred years old, his mental faculties are tiring rapidly, along with his sense of time and reality. Drifting from staircase to apartment, he's insistent on helping himself, and is fairly private about his home. The caretaker appears concerned, gently correcting Ulysses on his fractured memory. Back inside the apartment, we're thrown into another era, where old vintage furniture clutters the dark living room space, time has stopped, and the past lurks within the walls.
Luckily, the old man doesn't live alone, as his wife, a nagging, but somewhat more vibrant woman batters on. They reminisce and argue about their family, where neither of them can speak without launching into another argument.
The night is agonisingly long, as Ulysses and his wife hobble about and test each other's nerves. In the brink of their mania, a next-door neighbour bangs on the front door screaming to be let in and, shortly after, she's found dead on their patio. This is followed by more banging doors, strange calls and ethereal moments that paint a clear picture of someone who is losing their memory.
Whilst Calzada has created a rather immersive approach placing the audience in the mind of someone with dementia, the story itself becomes quite predictable from early on. This is what makes the film difficult to endure, as there's hope that through the satirical horror, there's something more to come. Something supernatural perhaps, but this isn't the case.
Although this is a thrille, some ghosts would've been quite a treat, for the gruelling terror of reality. But this is also the film's strong point, the unforgiving isolation of Ulysses and his wife, where the regrets of the past, present and future haunt them. And, where their vulnerability is a familiar sadness experienced in old age. Let's face it, there's nothing more terrifying than losing your mind, void of having any sense of where you are.
This is real life is spread like butter on toast, as we're thrown into the world of a man trying to survive his last days with dignity.
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