L’Attesa (The Wait) debuted at the Venice Film Festival 2015.
In L’Attesa (The Wait), Juliette Binoche plays Anna, a mother in mourning who receives an unexpected guest; Jeanne (Lou de Laâge), Anna’s son’s girlfriend, arrives for the Easter holiday and hasn’t heard the news. She enters the darkened Sicilian villa; mirrors are covered and everybody’s in black. She’s clearly confused and concerned, but she’s told that Anna’s brother has died.
Why the lie? Anna stubbornly keeps up the ruse in a desperate attempt to pretend that it isn’t true. As she assures Jeanne that her son will arrive soon, she can put off the horrifying days the lie ahead, the worst nightmare for any mother. Binoche, though a French actress playing a woman born in France, is, here, a Sicilian Mamma to the core, and her stoic intensity pairs with the film’s, at times, dizzyingly strung-out tone.
Director Piero Messina is the definition of prodigy; he started making films when he was 16, was assistant producer to the master, Paolo Sorrentino, when he was in his twenties, and managed to snag Juliette Binoche and Lou de Laage for his directorial debut.
“There was no choice”, he told me, he wanted Binoche for his first film, desiring “the best”. It wasn’t until she agreed to be in the film that Piero said to himself, “F*ck! She’s French! She’s a problem!” But as the Laotian proverb says, If you like things easy, you’ll have difficulties; if you like problems, you’ll succeed.” Messina knew full well that if Binoche was a problem, she was a happy, gorgeous one.