Saturday, August 15, 2009


Empty Nest (El nido vacío)

Empty Nest After kids grow up and move out, married couples tend to build a new life outside their empty nests and clinging on old memories, although it is not always necessary that they will build the new life together, especially when they have some issues that they have not gotten a chance to sort them out. Award-winning Argentine writer/director Daniel Burman told a bittersweet story about such scenario in his new film "Empty Nest" (El nido vacío | Argentina/Spain/France/Italy 2008 | in Spanish | 91 min.).

A reputable writer Leonardo Oscar Martínez and his wife Martha (Cecilia Roth) face a new life when their three grown children move out. Martha goes back to school to explore her academic potentials, and Leonardo begins to daydream and blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Consciously or not, both of them take a closer look at both their relationship and the future.

It takes some patience for me to get to know the characters. Leonardo, who still prefers a paper notepad over a computer, is not a very interesting individual by any stretch, regardless how he proactively tells others that he is a famous writer. However, he does have a pair of observant eyes that capture the happenings and people around him, including his young and beautiful dentist. How his dentist allows herself to be part of his fantasy is beyond my comprehension, or perhaps that is a pure fantasy after all.

Oscar Martínez's impressive performance as Leonardo saves me from turning my eyes away from the unresting characters and jittering images. Like one's eye movement trying to solve a sudoku puzzle, the camera moves around as fast as the characters talk. This is not a war story in a battle field, so why not leave the camera alone still in the room?

Oscar Martinez in EMPTY NEST

"Empty Nest" takes a glimpse at aging grownups' empty nests, without filling any goodies to make them less empty.

"Empty Nest" opens on Friday, August 21 at Kabuki in San Francsico and Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

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