The movie begins with a mourning, a funeral that announces in the worst way everything that will happen later. This burial is not a common one, people don’t suffer normally: the sorrow is so intolerable that the woman we see on altar urinates on herself. The body can’t stand the pain, which comes out in a broken and uncontrollable way, the body that reveals what composure tries to hide: the movie, made apparently only to give an answer to prerequisites, in order to enter in a genre, uses all of those things, taking them from many cinema theories.
L’attesa (The Wait), in fact, will follow this idea during all of its 100 minutes: the movie is not sincere, it wants to belong to the “auteur cinema”, rather than telling a story filled with partecipation and a bit of originality, with scenes, sequences and dialogues presented in the right way to be similar to the idea of authoriality (actually, a real code for it does not exist, in practice it’sa genre), rather than being able to speak to the audience.
The “wait” is Jeanne’s, Giuseppe’s girlfriend. He’s dead and she comes from France in his house, in South Italy, to spend there the holidays, with her boyfriend and his mother, (Juliette Binoche), who’s not strong enough to tell the girl about the death. Jeanne will spend many days waiting for Giuseppe, that will obviously never come back, talking, bathing in the lake, meeting people and starting a weird kind of relationship with her (ex) boyfriend’s mother. However, in the middle of the story, there’s not the “wait” of the title, but the pain of the mother, lived in such a strange and egoistical way.
The collection of the “auteur cinema” scenes, chosen to carry the story on, is ruthless. There are mats, slowly deflated, hugging them, only to feel the air coming out (the air that probably has been blown in by the dead son), there are the usual popular rituals (the Procession of the Virgin), shot with semidocumentary style, used as crucial but laical moment. There are also lucky meetings with other people, there’s the occasion for a quick passion with a stranger, and also a common theme in the recent “auteur cinema”: the apparition of the dead man, as a ghost. Nothing is missing, and yet nothing has the real meaning it should -or, al least, that has had elsewhere and in the past, in those movies that founded this style about 15 years ago (one of them, the frankest, is The Son’s Room) and in those movies that miraculously can still find a sense in it all.
Pietro Messina, shoots the less sincere movie on the most abused theme (the mourning elaboration): it seems that the movie wants to be safe, using elements of “certitied athouriality”and an international indisputable protagonist (who instead should be criticized, since her minimalized commitment to the role) and on an undeniable relation between the “territory” and the surrounding nature. Not acceptable at all.
By Gabriele Niola
Translation by Bianca Baroni
Photos: Eleonora Costantini
In collaboration with Badtaste.it