Window Boy Would also Like to Have a Submarine
by Ava Cahen
“Where did you come from?”
A question that is asked by one of the characters, and that runs through the whole film. Between a jungle hut in the Philippines, a ferry running on the sea with holidaymakers on board, traveling across Patagonia, and a small flat with a balcony in Montevideo, there are no longer any tangible borders, but rather a magical overlap. From there, everything becomes possible, mysterious relationships can happen, and a game of associations opens up an infinite possibility of language.
Alex Piperno invites us on a very singular and surprising journey. Thousand and one paths are taken, a man and a woman cross, in memories, in fantasies and in reality, while a group of villagers worry about their fate. Thousands of kilometres away from the nameless boy and woman, the inhabitants of this region are frightened by the sudden appearance of this magical portal. The waters are choppy, the jungle vibrates and minds are disturbed. Window Boy Who Also Like to Have a Submarine mixes genres (fantastic, thriller, drama, tale, everyday life chronicle) and upsets our Cartesian relationship to space and time. It is a film of great beauty, precisely framed, poetic and organic at the same time, and the emotions it brings are deep and lasting. Here, love, fear, hope, life and death all keep each other company.
We get lost in the labyrinth, we look at the sea, we start believing in miracles and ghosts. Its song is one of solitude, but above all, the film embraces the notion of reconciliation, and the idea of creating, through cinema, a junction between souls, beings and beliefs, before it’s too late, before the water overflows. So hold your breath and dive in. You’re going to remember for a long time the face of this “Window Boy”, played by Daniel Quiroga, a non-professional actor, like the entire cast. This crew member, tall and dark, is our guide on this journey made of different kinds of sounds: the sounds of a dining room full of guests, the sounds of the engines, the machines, underwater sounds, birds sounds, the sound of a bottle falling on the floor, but also, the sounds of silence.
Alex Piperno does not only reveal the dark side of humans and nature. The introspection is more complete and complex than that. Few films offer us such an experience. This first feature film does. It has a singular intensity, an intensity that one cannot resist. Alex Piperno taking risks, has his own way of telling this existential, melancholic and sentimental story: the story of those who wander where they came from and where they belong, but even more the story of individuals who are lost in their own bubbles, but who will get the opportunity to travel in the direction of others if they stop using rational thoughts. For this one, there is no doubt: a director is born. The film has already garnered a nomination for the GWFF Best First Feature Award and selection for the New Directors/New Films program at the Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art.
Window Boy Would also Like to Have a Submarine is now available to watch on Mubi.
Ava Cahen is the Artistic Director of Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique. She founded the magazine CLAP in 2014 and FrenchMania in 2017 along with the Woody Club she created in 2016. She has been a commentator for the TV programme “Le Cercle” on Canal+ since 2014 and since 2019 for “Une heure en séries », a radio programme broadcast on France Inter. She has published several books on cinema and series and is a university lecturer at Nanterre Paris X University. In 2016, at the age of 30, she became the youngest selection committee member in the history of La Semaine de la Critique and joined the French Union of Film Critics.