The Wait ('L’Attesa')

DRAMA; 1hr 39min

STARRING: Juliette Binoche, Lou de Laâge

Waiting game: de Laâge (left) and Binoche

Awash with sorrow from its first Christly frame and with the wild sweep of Sicily and Binoche's piteous presence sealing a funereal mood, The Wait is strung between two women. Anna (Binoche) is mourning her son Giuseppe's death. Jeanne (de Laâge), Giuseppe's unwitting girlfriend, is newly arrived for an Easter visit at Anna's imposing villa, where Giuseppe is supposed to meet her.


Where, Jeanne wonders, is Giuseppe and why isn't he responding to her repeated phone messages? In the interim, all the disconcerted girl and the shell-shocked mother — who can't seem to bring herself to break the terrible news — can do is sit tight, hang out and sight-see. Not the most fascinating state of play, you'd think. Yet Francesco Di Giacomo's pellucid cinematography, the doleful stillness of Binoche, framed by director Piero Messina like an old master, and de Laâge's lazy sensuality, as tactile as a stretching kitten, combine to deepen the fog of tension.


"Why won't you answer?" Jeanne demands of the phone's resounding silence. Why indeed? How can Anna so prolong the agony? In the bleak mystery of grief, unresolved questions are the core of the story.