October: It’s Not Too Late

05/06/2011 4:00 AM |

Octubre
Directed by Daniel and Diego Vega Vidal

The feature-length debut of brothers Daniel and Diego Vega Vidal presents us with the glum life of a Lima pawnbroker named Clemente (Bruno Odar), who lives alone and whose only interaction with others is in the form of business transactions. Returning from a nearby brothel one day, he finds his door hanging open and his home broken into. Instead of discovering his possessions stolen, though, he finds something left behind: a baby, abandoned there by a prostitute he frequented, with the suggestion that it’s his. When Sofia, a neighbor, visits a few days later to borrow money, she finds Clemente desperately unaware of how to care for the child, and very sleep-deprived. When Sofia insists on changing the crying baby’s diaper, becoming instantly motherly, Clemente quickly jumps on the chance to hire her to care for the baby while he works and searches for the mother — particularly at brothels. He’s oblivious to the ramshackle family forming under his nose, missing Sofia’s growing tenderness.

Fergan Chavez-Ferrer’s camera never pans or zooms, and hand-held shots are rare— the filmmakers mean to communicate Clemente’s static situation. But the harder he searches for the missing mother, and the restoration of his routine, the more mistakes he makes and the more money he loses. The film promises no lasting changes— it’s the viewer to judge Clemete’s evolution, or lack thereof, which makes this a very subtle, natural portrait of a man learning how to love late in life.