Jun 10, 2016 07:54 PM EST
L’Attesa Worth The Wait
L'Attesa - The Wait. Aptly named, as there is ample waiting in this film. For the first seven minutes of the movie we wait for dialogue. For most of the movie we wait for Anna (Juliette Binoche; The English Patient) to tell Jeanne (Lou de Laâge; Breathe) what is really going on and why Giuseppe isn't there. Symbolically, we wait for the film to reach the Easter Holiday as the characters wait for the resurrection.
Jeanne is Giuseppe's girlfriend and shows up at his house just before Easter. She is supposed to meet him there but instead finds his mother, Anna, who informs her there has been a death in the family and Giuseppe is away. She offers Jeanne her hospitality and over the course of the week the two women bond.
When the time has come for Giuseppe to return, Anna informs Jeanne he isn't coming back as he doesn't want to see her. I suppose Anna is trying to spare Jeanne a certain heartache and give her "pep" talk about moving on and finding someone else. Ultimately, even though the words are never spoke Jeanne discovers the truth and leaves broken hearted anyway but for a different reason.
Piero Messina's (Masterpieces Unveiled) direction is truly a work of art. The minimalistic approach and unnerving close ups serve the subject matter well. The silences speak volumes and the close ups are surreal yet poignant. While there are moments that are unnecessary the majority of the movie flows beautifully and keeps the suspense of when and how Jeanne will learn the truth.
Binoche is brilliant as Anna. Her vulnerability allows us to delve into the depths of her sadness. de Laâge is excellent next to the veteran actress displaying a range of emotions from confusion to embarrassment to sadness and anger. The rest of the cast compliment these ladies and don't distract from the overall feel of the film.
The emotions evoked by this film are vast and varied. I felt the sadness and despair Anna felt and Jeanne's confusion and embarrassment. I also felt angry at Anna for not telling Jeanne the truth. There were a few moments of joy and varying degrees of pity especially as Anna listens to the voicemail messages left of Giuseppe's cell phone (mostly form Jeanne).
The story is compelling, the visuals are stunning and though provoking and the overall feel of L'Attesa is mostly depressing. As an artistic piece the film works and as Messina's first foray into feature film making he shines beautifully.
Worth the watch and not overly burdened with subtitles for those who hat that type of thing.
About Allison Skornick-Rose
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