Monday, July 4, 2016

L'Attesa [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing listing* listing* (A.M. Abate) review* (G Arnone) review* (A. Mastarntonio) review (M. Uzzeo) review (A. Martin) review* (N. Brarda) review* (J.C. Raspiengeas) review*

AVclub (M. D'Angelo) review (J. Kermode) review
Slant Magazine (C. Gray) review

L'Attesa [2015] [IMDb] []*[]* (directed and cowritten by Piero Messina [IMDb] []*[]* along with Giacomo Bendotti [IMDb], Ilaria Macchia [IMDb] and Andrea Paolo Massara [IMDb] based on two works by Luigi Pirandello [wikip] [IMDb]) is an ITALIAN / FRENCH COLLABORATION that played recently at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago.  The film is also available, subtitled, in the United States on various streaming services for a reasonable price.

Heavy on symbolism and playing-out largely at a hill-top estate somewhere in Sicily of today, the story's mainly about two women: Anna (played by Juliette Binoche [IMDb] []*[]*) middle aged, and Jeanne (played by Lou de Laâge [IMDb] []*[]*), early 20-something, both French.  Anna had married (and some years back divorced) a Sicilian man, perhaps since deceased, and was living now with the exception of having a few servants in said Sicilian hilltop citadel alone.  Jeanne, the (former?) girlfriend of Anna's beloved son Giuseppe, "comes visiting" around Holy Week (so basically around "Spring / Easter Break"). 

Jeanne's arrival comes as something of a surprise to Anna and the handful of her servants.  She tells them that Giuseppe had invited her to come, ... 'cept Giuseppe's "not around."

So ... the rest of the film (80-90% of it) is about Jeanne _waiting_ for Giuseppe to arrive.  She leaves messages on his cell phone.  He _never_ answers.  Anna, his mother, more or less clearly "in mourning" (though she tells Jeanne it's on account of her (Anna's) brother having recently died), _doesn't say much_.  As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Jeanne and Giuseppe did have "a falling out" ABOUT A YEAR AGO ... so one starts to wonder if Jeanne had really been invited to be there (and yet she _insists_ that she was).

What the heck was going actually on?   With _almost no one talking_ and even when they did talk, saying _very little_ (of pertinence anyway) this becomes a _fascinating_ if _irritating_ "mystery" of sorts.   What happened?  What happened to / where was Giuseppe?  Why doesn't Anna know where her own son is?  What was Jeanne hoping to accomplish by being there (or staying there)?

And with this playing-out in the context of Holy Week, there's _a lot_ of symbolism present as well.

Fascinating / irritating and above all _slow moving_ story ;-)

Honestly, quite a good job! ;-) 

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

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