The strange, surreal drama “Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine” is a film that embraces style over substance. Writer / director Alex Piperno‘s film wanders aimlessly in a dreamlike state, pausing to casually interject conceptual ideas about global connections, superstitions, voyeuristic curiosity, and the life force that flows from water.
This is a very observational film that shows and doesn’t tell; there is very little dialogue. The loose plot strains to connect two different corners of the globe through the fluidity of time and space. The first is a jungle in the Philippines, where villagers stumble upon a mysterious, vibrating shed and think it could be the work of evil forces. The other is set on a luxury liner off the Patagonian coast, where a young sailor discovers a portal that leads from the cruise ship’s engine room to a woman’s apartment in Montevideo. The sea, jungle, and city become connected through these windows, allowing them all to travel between their different worlds.
Piperno directs like a first-timer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but his film is packed with minor annoyances that seem to crop up in many debut features. The film feels a bit too pompous (the title is taken from a poem written by Piperno himself), with a cast of non-professional actors and heavy-handed (and I mean heavy) symbolism. There doesn’t seem to be any concrete idea for a clear resolution, so he leaves too much of his story open to interpretation. This can be effective in certain situations, but here it feels pretentious and lazy.
“Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine” is very slow and will stretch the patience of even the most tolerant viewers. It’s an interesting concept, but the lack of resolution is frustrating. The biggest unresolved question of all is “but why?“
By: Louisa Moore