Awaiting: Nightmare in the snow
by Alfonso Rivera
- Daniela Fejerman demonstrates her mastery of strong narrative in a drama that she had to endure for herself: the extremely tough process of adopting a child in a country riddled with corruption
Awaiting [+see also:
interview: Daniela Fejerman
film profile]'s English title is extremely apt, as its main characters have to be patient and do just that: they wait to be seen by pencil pushers in a strange country, wait to be assigned a healthy (or not so healthy) child and, above all, wait for an end to the hell that they excitedly got themselves into, but which they have no idea how or when they will be able to get out of. The anguish felt by this couple brought to life with potentially award-winning conviction by Catalan actors Nora Navas (winner of the Goya Award for Best Actress in 2011 for Black Bread [+see also:
film profile]) and Francesc Garrido (portraying a highly nuanced character, bristling with expressive glances and mood swings) pierces through the screen and burrows deep into the viewer’s soul, testifying to the long, painful, cold and exhausting process that the actors are living through on screen – similar to the one that the director herself, Daniela Fejerman, had to endure years ago when she adopted a child in Ukraine.
Shot in Lithuania and now being presented at the 60th Seminci, Awaiting never opts for an easy way to make you shed a tear; nor does it hold you hostage to sentimentality, in spite of the high level of drama inherent in its plot. On the contrary, its director – who wrote the robust screenplay together with Alejo Flah – succeeds in recounting something so personal in a dignified way, maintaining just the right amount of distance and using the requisite narrative elements in order for the on-screen conflict not to turn into an after-dinner TV film. To achieve this, it not only relies on an outstanding cast – including both the Spanish and Lithuanian performers – but also on the washed-out cinematography of Juan Carlos Gómez, which is in keeping with the state of mind of these victims of an emotional tsunami sweeping them away and potentially leaving them scarred for life.
Because the characters of Daniel and Natalia make up one of those couples that have invested not only their savings, but also boundless enthusiasm and hope, in their plan to become the parents of an adopted child. And so, providing the necessary support for one another, they embark on a voyage to a country to the east, where they have been promised a healthy kid. But as soon as they arrive, they come up against theft, corruption and a lack of communication that reaches a point where the situation starts getting out of hand, brings out the worst in each of them and shakes the foundations of what they had thought was a solid, cast-iron relationship.
While the inhabitants of a snow-covered city are jovially celebrating Christmas in the streets, Daniel and Natalia will gradually experience various emotional states, ranging from anger to estrangement, mistrust, aggression and desperation: this contrast between their intimacy in tatters and the outside world underlines the terrible ordeal that the couple is going through, powerless when faced with such an overwhelming situation. While Fejerman shakes us to the core with all of this, she makes us wonder: how much of this could we bear if we were put in a similar situation?
Edited by veteran Teresa Font, Awaiting is a production between Spanish outfits Mistery Producciones AIE, Tornasol Films and Messidor Films, and Lithuanian companies Lietuvos Kino Studija UAB and Ahil UAB. Latido Films is in charge of its world sales.
(Translated from Spanish)