"I am no longer waiting for anyone"
Sebastian Fernandez | Tampa, Florida United States | 02/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every time I watch a Latin American movie I am amazed by how different the culture is from the one seen in the US or UK. This of course results in the film showing a break from what we are used to getting from Hollywood. A few aspects that create these differences are: a deeper look into everyday events of the characters life, the depiction of a way of living that goes by at a slower pace and the scenery in which the evens occur (in this case mostly the neighborhood in Buenos Aires known as El Once).
Problems with the markets in South Asia have affected businesses and people in Argentina. In particular, the two main characters in this movie are touched by the events in different ways. Santamaria (Enrique Pineyro) works in a bank that goes bankrupt as a result of the Asian downfall, so he loses his job and as soon as his wife finds out, she kicks him out of their house. Ariel (Daniel Hendler) is worried because his father's life savings were in the bank that went broke and now the do not have a safety net anymore. To make things worse, his mother is extremely sick and is expected to die soon. Ariel is convinced that his Jewish mother will not die, just so that she can keep taking care of her family as is characteristic of a Yiddishe Mama. But when the inevitable happens, he needs to find a way to go on with his life and help his father with moving forward.
So basically we have two characters that are having different crises and that come together when Santamaria finds a stack of discarded wallets left in the garbage by thieves, who took the money and got rid of the documents. He then starts callings the victims to see if he can get some kind of reward from returning the remaining personal effects to their owners. In this way at least he can get some food and survive. One of the victims was Ariel's mom and this causes the two men to meet.
The movie touches on a couple of very interesting points, like what it means to be Jewish in Latin American and how they stick together and keep up with tradition. But what I think is even more important is how the film shows the power of love and how it can keep you going even at the toughest times, even if it is not reciprocated. In this regard, there are a couple of very interesting female characters that provide the movie with a collection of moving scenes.
Besides the fact that the story in which the movie is based is very interesting and represents the life in Argentina very well, I felt drawn to this production because I am Uruguayan and the main actor, Daniel Hendler, is the new and probably only Uruguayan star at this moment. There are a couple of directors that have had international success, like Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll with their movie "25 watts", but Hendler is the only actor from my country that has been recognized internationally in the last few years. I recommend this movie to all of those that enjoy a good story, but particularly to those that want to see how people live in the countries around the Rio de la Plata."
'Waiting' for truth and understanding.....
D. Pawl | Seattle | 04/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH (ESPERANDO AL MESIAS) is the first in a trilogy of films by Daniel Burman about the Jewish experience in Argentina. Ariel Goldstein (Daniel Hendler), the main character, supports himself by video-taping weddings and bar mitzvahs and must come to terms with his shifted reality after the death of his mother. What is perceived and expected for him to do is quite different from what actually occurs in his experiences. The hope is that Ariel will help his father in the family restaurant and end up with his childhood girlfriend. Instead, he keeps his job, turns to Laura (Chiara Caselli) a bisexual coworker for companionship (and then some!) and encounters Santamaria (Enrique Pineyro), a man who has recently lost his job and faces a life on the streets, while attempting to make some money returning stolen ID cards he finds discarded in the dumpster.
The title of this film is a great reflection of the subject matter (as well as the struggles) of the characters we get to know here. For those who practice Judaism, the Messiah is literally "The Anointed One." In figurative terms, he is the "The Chosen One" (or Divine One). This is the Jewish king from the Davidic line who will rule the people during the Messianic age. Nearly all of the people in the film are waiting for something that they have yet to find in their lives. Ariel is waiting for stability to return to his home, following the death of his mother, who held the family together, as a strong and independent woman. Laura awaits the return of her father for ten years. The happiest people in the film (who are few and far between) do not put their lives on hold to wait for anything or anyone. They just move with what is presented to them, from day to day, not expecting or anticipating anything from those they encounter. Perhaps this is a testimony to the strength of their faith in accepting what befalls them.
Does this film work? Yes, in some ways it portrays a very compelling and intense look at the human condition and the universal struggles we all encounter with self definition, as well as our inability to be satisfied with our lives. It isn't difficult for me to see why WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH was featured as the Official Selection for venues including the Venice Film Festival and New York Jewish Film Festival. MESSIAH fuses contemporary struggles with more traditional beliefs. Yet, I felt more-than-slightly like a voyeur as I observed the struggle of the subjects. Much to my dismay, I very rarely connected (if ever) connected with any of the characters, beyond my observation of their pain on a very superficial level, bemoaning the loss of parents, as well as innocence. I would have liked to "know" these people on a more intimate basis, instead of just being left with fragmented glimpses into their neuroses and unresolved conflicts. Yet, I am glad that I watched this film, for the experience, and look forward to seeing the other films in this trilogy (EL ABRAZO PARTIDO and DERECHO DE FAMILIA)."
"I told her about China, but she doesn't understand"
M. B. Alcat | Los Angeles, California | 04/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Waiting for the Messiah" (= "Esperando al Mesías") is an interesting Argentinian film, directed by Daniel Burman. Strangely enough, I only watched it for the first time yesterday, even though it was released some years ago. To tell the truth, I looked it up because I enjoyed watching "Lost embrace" (= "El abrazo partido"), another film directed by Burman, and wanted to find out if "Waiting for the Messiah" was equally good. Thankfully, it is...
This film tells how an economic crisis in Asia ends up affecting people in Argentina, and shows the effect that the abstract forces of the market have on the lives of real people. Santamaria (Enrique Pineyro) loses his job, something that his wife sees as a good excuse to leave him. Ariel (Daniel Hendler), a young Jewish man, loses his family's saving in a bank that closes, and has to hide the bad news from his sick mother. Both characters, and others that the spectator will meet, have to learn how to face their new circumstances, without losing hope and the ability to look forward to new things.
All in all, I think that "Waiting for the Messiah" is a film that you are likely to enjoy, if you are fond of small but engaging movies that tell stories that seem real. Recommended...
Christmas story . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 01/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Set during Christmas time in Buenos Aires, this enjoyable film follows a number of characters both Jewish and Christian who are dealing with the unsettling circumstances of their lives. A financial crisis in Asia puts a bank employee out of work; the death of a mother leaves a young man in emotional limbo; a video filmmaker can't seem to strike a balance that suits her lover; a train station restroom attendant waits for her husband to be released from prison; a young woman waits for the young man she loves to take an interest in her; people's expectations are thwarted and unfulfilled. Meanwhile, life waits for no one and hurries on at a frenetic pace. There are bar mitzvahs and weddings, funerals, holidays, job interviews, karaoke, purse snatching, sexual encounters, and discussions about circumcision. Edited with frequent jump cuts, the film captures the unsettled circumstances of its characters, and the performances are just fine."