Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Waiting for Happiness

Heremakono (2002 movie written and directed by Abderrahmane Sissako): Rating 8.5/10

Sometimes the simplest movies are the ones which are a pleasure to watch. And oddly enough, watching the boring lives of people sometimes makes for an interesting movie. Such is the case of Waiting for Happiness , this simple movie from Mauritania. What is the story? There isn't one! In fact, the movie just shows us a slice of some people's lives living in a small town by the ocean. Not much happens there and at times, people die waiting for something to happen. The sun rises, they wake up, they wait, the sun sets, yet they still wait. And so on. This does not feel like a scripted movie. It feels as if Abderrahmane Sissako got permission to plunk his camera down in a little town and filmed the people in their daily routines. An excitable young boy who loves working and hooking electrical cables up, an aging old man who does not care anymore, a young man who spends too much time thinking and looking out of his window to see how many visitors the local prostitute gets, a mother who is worried that her son is not normal like other boys, a young girl who is taking singing lessons, a photo shop which sells dreams of life abroad, etc. The visuals of this town surrounded by the desert on one side, and the ocean on another are just beautiful. There is something poetic about observing a solitary figure walking through the vast desert.

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