1295 0

No matter how long and arduous the process of death might have been, the refusal to believe that your loved one has actually passed on is one of the most base of human emotions. How many among us haven’t looked at the bodies of our loved ones after they’ve died and hoped to see any sign, no matter how slight, that maybe we were wrong and that death has not actually come to claim their spirits? How many of us haven’t wished for just one more day, one more hour, or one more minute with which to see and hold our dearest that have departed from this world? Grief, perhaps more so than any other emotion, is one of those feelings that are experienced and felt in ways that are entirely personal; there is no one right way to grieve and we each of us go through the process a little bit differently. It’s this process and the variety of ways it can be experienced that is explored in the M. Blash art house film, The Wait, which premiered this weekend at the SXSW film festival.
The film stars the always amazing Chloe Sevigny as Emma, a daughter mourning the loss of her mother. As she and her sister Angela (beautifully portrayed by Jena Malone) are preparing the body to be taken away, Emma receives a mysterious phone call from an unknown person purporting to be a psychic; without revealing who she is or what she knows about the situation, the voice on the other end of the phone proclaims that her dead mother will be resurrected in three days hence. Emma, in her grief, accepts this enigmatic prophecy as truth and insists on keeping the body at home, just in case. Angela, the more obviously practical of the two sisters, is shocked at Emma’s willingness to believe the strange psychic.
Herein lies the central conflict and focus of The Wait; the two sisters clash over the proper way to grieve the loss of their mother, Emma clinging to the hope that an unknown miracle is in the works, Angela just hoping they can get it over with and done.
The Wait is a sparse, stark examination of the process of grief. Though narratively simplistic, it is nonetheless a haunting film with powerful performances all around. And Blash is clearly an artist with a keen eye for composition. The film is beautifully shot with vibrant colors and visually striking tones. Compositionally I was reminded of the recent works of Dutch auteur Lars von Trier. Like von Trier, Blash has created a remarkable film that explores the realms of human experience in purely cinematic fashion.
Though the script is strong and powerfully understated, the real focus is on the filmmaking itself. The shots and framing are all very deliberate and serve to hammer home both the beauty and the chaos of the internal worlds of the sisters as they navigate their grief.
The Wait is a powerful film that I’m afraid may slip through the cracks at this year’s SXSW film festival; I truly hope this isn’t the case. This is a film that deserves to be seen by as many people as can possibly see it. Blash is a true artist with, one can only hope, the potential for a long and acclaimed filmmaking career.

In this article

Join the Conversation