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Sonata For A Calendar

average rating is 4 out of 5


Julian Gaskell


Posted on:

Jun 18, 2022

Film Reviews
Sonata For A Calendar
Directed by:
Carmen Rosa Vargas
Written by:
Carmen Rosa Vargas
Oswaldo Salas

An immaculately shot black and white short follows Alfonso, a 53 year old accountant from Lima, who as he prepares to go to work each morning, marks off the days on his calendar, all to the enchanting piano sounds of Beethoven.


The short starts with some bleak overcast skies and empty establishing shots of a tower block in Lima. We then enter inside the apartment of Alfonso (Oswaldo Salas) who’s getting up to go about his daily morning routine before he leaves for work. This is perfectly orchestrated to the sounds of Beethoven, which editor Carlos Andrés must get some credit for, turning the mundane morning routine into a choreographed ritual in Alfonso’s apartment, as we listen to probably one of Beethoven’s most underrated tracks.


The black and white camera shots have a heightened artistic effect and the extreme close-ups bring a personal intimacy into Alfonso’s own stark reality, bringing to attention some of his fastidious routine as he washes and dresses, combs his hair and fastens his shoes; so much so, this clockwork manner is like an OCD. Finally, before he exits his apartment door to leave for work he marks off the day on his calendar. There is a small pause in activity as the camera holds on the empty flat before he returns home again from work, walking back through the door to do his routine in reverse.


The classical music score further adds an element of artistic poetry to the static black and white shots assembled together. Oswaldo is a quirky little character actor to observe going about his daily routine and added to this is a mysterious wooden box, which he gives a knowing glance to.


The cinematic shots give the impression of the familiar daily humdrum. Day becomes night and night becomes day as the birds sing and the trains rattle on and Alfonso gets on with his daily routine. But there is a slower lethargy creeping in. One day he has a shock though when he can’t open the door and falls into a forced panic. Being mysteriously locked in, and not being able to get to work, he is drawn to the wooden box, which makes his eyes fill with tears. Is it time to open the box?


Shot in Oswaldo’s own apartment in Lima there is no dialogue, so no need to worry about any translation. The exquisite piano allegro matched to the movement around the apartment gives the feel of a silent movie and a magical understanding to what is happening in Alfonso’s life.

About the Film Critic
Julian Gaskell
Julian Gaskell
Short Film
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