• Golden Globe Awards

Nocturna: Side A – The Great Old Man’s Night (Argentina)

At 92, José “Pepe” Soriano can say that he had a happy and fulfilling career. For decades he was one of the most prominent Argentine actors since his debut in the Colon Theatre in 1953 in a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He also tried his hand at writing plays and directing. Still, he never could have imagined that the biggest challenge of them all would come very late in his life when we filmed Nocturna for director Gonzalo Calzada, a true tour de force in which he is in every scene, sometimes in challenging situations for any 90-year-old person.
Soriano recently received a special mention in the prestigious Platinum Konex Awards in the same ceremony where his co-star in the film, Marilu Marini, was awarded the Diamond Konex for her outstanding career.
In the film, he plays Ulises, a 100-year-old man who spends his last night battling his demons in a huge apartment. Things are not easy for him, as he has long fights with his wife (Marini), who knows how to push his buttons. There is a neighbor upstairs who arrives in the middle of the night asking, or rather, demanding help, and some unresolved issues from his past will come to the present again and again. Sometimes Ulises has the feeling that he is losing his mind, and he may be right, as the neighbor and the wife may no longer be in this world.
Nocturna may be the most mainstream film for Calzada, who specializes in horror. He previously directed Luceferina, Resurrection, The Clairvoyant’s Prayer, Luisa and Valdemar. In an interview with GoldenGlobes.com, he said that having two older actors as the leads was a big risk: “Making films in Argentina is always complicated. But we had to take this route to avoid losing the soul of the story. Obviously, we were afraid that something could happen, and it did. One day he felt sick, and we became very concerned, but we had tools to solve the issue, and we added scenes with the alter ego of the character, as it’s very common at that age that people suffer from regressions.”
Soriano, legendary for titles such as a Grandma, The Jewish Gauchos, The Last Train and Esperame en el Cielo, is ready to make another film. He also spoke to GoldenGlobes.com: “Nobody can imagine how hard is to work every day for 8 or 10 hours when you are 90. Also, this character lives in a world where he is a prisoner of the dark. He had almost no air. It was a brutal effort, and that’s why I spent a week in the hospital for dehydration when we were near the end,” he said.
Nocturna has two versions, Side A and Side B, exploring different perspectives of the story, but only Side A was submitted for Golden Globes consideration. Breaking Glass will release Side A in theaters in the United States on January 14 and Side B digitally on January 18.