Juliette Binoche stars in this dazzling, Sicilian-set meditation on grief and perseverance from first-time feature director Piero Messina (assistant director on Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty).
Dazzingly shot, wonderfully conceived and executed, The Wait heralds the arrival of a talented new voice. Former assistant director to Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty), Piero Messina shows that he has learned much from working with one of the world's finest contemporary filmmakers. With Sicily as his backdrop, Messina navigates a range of emotions in telling the strange, compelling story of an encounter between two women from two different generations.
The Wait begins with the camera sinuously caressing a carving of Christ on the cross, a prefiguring of the tale to follow, a tale of grieving, concealment, and connection. As a house descends into mourning, mirrors draped in black crepe, a young French woman arrives from the mainland by ferry, blissfully unaware of the events that are about to take over her life. Jeanne (Lou de Laâge) is the girlfriend of the son of the family matriarch, Anna (Juliette Binoche), who has never met Jeanne and is surprised by her visit. Anna's son, Giuseppe, is not there; Jeanne calls his cellphone and leaves numerous messages. As Anna and Jeanne await Giuseppe's arrival, they slowly begin to form a friendship. Jeanne, confused and a little mystified at first, gradually gives in to the charms of the island. She swims in the sea and makes friends, while Anna, watched over by a long-time family friend, grows closer to this unexpected guest.
Messina's film is, true to its title, all about the wait. But it's also a film about watching and listening. Its mood is contemplative, tentative, made up of discreet scenes of quiet power that gradually coil with the expectation of release. With its carefully measured approach, The Wait will bring to mind some of the most impactful and influential first features of Italian cinema.