*A 2006 U.S. Release*
The series of images that play over the opening credits of Uruguayan filmmaker Aldo Garays The Wait (La Espera) bring a similar sequence from Lodge Kerrigans masterful Claire Dolan (1998) to mind. Much like that film, the shots of abstract architectural patterns -- in this case consisting of crowded or closed windows of what seems like an apartment building -- cued to ominous music exquisitely set the stage for the physical and emotional milieu of our protagonist.
Naturalistically played by Vernica Perrotta (who also had a small part in Whisky , the other recent Uruguayan release in the U.S.), she is a plaintive young Montevideo resident named Silvia who has been taking care of her sullen, bed-ridden mother (Elena Zuasti) for nearly a decade. Silvia was perhaps socially awkward to begin with, but this obligation has drawn her away from peers and co-workers, and has now created a gulf between her and her mother. But a spate of anonymous love letters end up arousing some hope within Silvia, and she starts to look forward to them after slaving away at a local textile factory all day. Meanwhile, she also strikes up a relationship with a young man but isn't sure how to deal with it considering the state of her mother.
Inspired by a Henry Trujillo novel called "Torquator," The Wait is a morally and emotionally complex film which deals with its subject matter with as much subtlety as possible. Formally, Garay -- who was only 33 when the film premiered -- and his DP Diego Varela exhibit an Agns Godard-esque spatial sense around the characters, imbuing them and the film with a graceful and tender realism. In this 65-minute film, which was reportedly shot for only $70,000, Garay isnt quite able to do justice to the films third major character -- the duos equally morose middle-aged neighbor (Walter Reyno) whos perhaps connected with them in more ways than one -- but The Wait is an assured and economical effort promising a bright future for its director.
*The film made the rounds of mostly second and third tier festivals (San Sebastin, Bogota, Miami, etc.) back in '02-'03 before disappearing into oblivion. It has been partially brought back by U.S. DVD distributor Cinematica, which is associated with Facets.