Celluloid Screams Review – Nocturna: Side A

Ulises and Dalia

Getting old is not much fun. While we celebrate the fact that medical advances and higher standards of living are increasing life expectancy, at what price? While our body might survive longer that doesn’t mean our mind will. Dementia affects one-in-six people over the age of eighty in the UK and that number is rising all the time. It’s a truly terrible disease and there simply aren’t the support services available to adequately cope with it. Nocturna: Side A tackles a number of issues around old age.

Ulises (Pepe Soriano) is almost one hundred years old. He lives in an apartment on the second floor with his wife Dalia (Marilú Marini). They have occupied it for many years. He is becoming increasingly confused and the pair have retreated inside the safety of their four walls. Terrified that the building’s Superintendent Daniel (Lautaro Delgado) or their son will realise the state they’re in and put them in a home.

Nocturna: Side A is an emotive and powerful drama which plays on themes of grief, memory and guilt. Gonzalo Calzada’s film is a difficult watch, at times. There’s nothing more terrifying than not being able to trust your own brain and Soriano’s performance perfectly encapsulates the confusion and inner-turmoil this brings. Nocturna: Side A uses its location well to conjure up a claustrophobic and inert atmosphere. Demons lurk outside the door but the real terror is inside.  

Nocturna: Side A screened at Celluloid Screams.

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