A man sits alone in his apartment. Why does he watch as his goldfish washes down the drain? Why does he blow up balloons then release them out the window for no one to see? And for whom does he take out his clarinet to play ‘Quartet for the End of Time’?.
Shot in 16mm, while Alfonso Cuarón was a film student, Cuarteto Para El Fin Del Tiempo is a meditation on isolation and a young man’s withdrawal from the outside world. Using very few words, Cuarón relies on the power of the image to narrate the film, for which there was no written script:
‘It was an emotion rather than an idea that drove the process, it was about improvising and trying different things every day, trying to blend the character and the location with this emotion.’
Now, despite having achieved international recognition for his widely acclaimed features Y Tu Mamá También, Harry Potter and Children of Men, Cuarón still likes to submit his work to a second critical eye.
‘Even now I have great people guiding me through the filmmaking process. Even now I cannot complete a film without people like Guillermo del Toro or Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu putting their touch on my work.’
Commentary by Alfonso Cuarón, recorded in London, England. (CINEMA 16 – World Short Films)
Subtitles:English, German, Japan (all optional)