Directed by Jon Cortegoso | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
As Mother Teresa once very rightly said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty”, a lonely man is a poor man because he has to deal with the adversities of life all by himself.
Miguel, the protagonist in the film ‘Solo’ which literally means alone, is a man who has entered old-age, living all by himself in an empty house with his only companion, his old and habitual radio. It is sitting comfortably in the living room of his house and is something that keeps him going and never fails his expectations by keeping silent in an already quiet house. However, one fine day, Miguel’s radio is not enough to satisfy his need for interaction and human affection. He starts missing his family, children, grandchildren and tries to contact them. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to bother too much about him and a twist of events adding on to his feelings lead to him reach the limit of his tolerance. It is interesting to see how things unfold from here and how important his own guardian angel becomes for his life. This film is inspired by true life events and hence is very authentic, to-the-point in its approach.
One of the major themes covered in the film is the idea of leading a lonely life in old-age. This is because, the culture of most places across the world has changed in terms of family structure and individuals no longer feel the need to keep a check on their aging parents. Busy leading mechanical lives, nine to five jobs and handling issues concerning their immediate nuclear family. It is surprising that the current generation which is supposed to be so-called ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’ is ignorant towards the responsibility of taking care of their parents, letting them live a lonely miserable life all by themselves in the confined spaces of the four walls of their humble home. Miguel, the protagonist is seen in the same condition where the only human interaction that experiences is in the form of messages sent out in the radio. The story presses on the difficulties faced by such individuals who are fighting each day to survive in the world all alone.
Another message which the director tries to convey through this film is the importance of the emergency workers, including fire-fighters, ambulance services, rescue operation teams and so on. The ones who work tirelessly day and night to help people in distress across the globe, acting as saviors! Heroes in disguise that are not even acknowledged by the society. The pandemic itself has given us such a wide perspective to look at things and reflect upon. The work that these people have been doing for the well-being of society and the amount of sacrifice they do each day to save every precious life is praiseworthy. The unsung heroes have been wonderfully acknowledged and appreciated through this film, making the audience realize how a seemingly insignificant job for people especially belonging to a privileged and highly educated class might actually turn out to save their lives and facilitate the functioning of society so well. One cannot imagine a society without these workers who toil for years going unnoticed by the people for whom they are actually working.
The director of this film has also recorded, written and edited the documentary. He has worked really hard to put across the message of this film and reach out to the soul of the protagonist in his well thought out and executed work. This 2021 Spanish short film has definitely achieved its purpose of putting across an important idea of loneliness and isolation. It is relatable especially in the present situation as many people have detached themselves socially confining themselves to a closed room. This has an impact on one’s mental as well as physical health majorly. At the end of this film, you might even find yourself reaching out for your phone and calling your parents to check on them! Perks to the director for creating this beautifully crafted piece of work which is an add on to every film-enthusiast’s watchlist.
Samiksha Periwal is an 20 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.