QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN
Adapted from Juhani Aho’s novel The Pastor’s Wife, this 100-minute love triangle story starts and ends with a very languid and meditative pace. It tells the story of a Preacher, his Wife and an old Friend of the preacher who visits the couple and begins a dalliance with the beautiful female. The action takes place during summer, on the verdant and hilly lakeside of rural Finland. All of the characters are about the same age, in their late 30s. None of the characters is named, in a story that places more emphasis on silence and moans than actual words.
Both the Preacher and the Wife are extremely excited at the arrival of the Friend. The Preacher explains that he injected a sense of excitement and joviality into their household, unbeknown to him that his wife was enjoying a far more profound experience with the man hitherto a stranger to her. Female sexuality is the central pillar of this love triangle. There is no shortage of female masturbation, fingering and nude bathing in the lake (perhaps a few too many). The sex scenes are a little contrived, lacking passion and flare.
The most important question that the film raises is on the nature of honesty. Does it pay off being brutally honest about your sentiments, or is it best to conceal short-term dalliances from the person with whom you intend to share your life? At one moment, such honesty borders on sadism, in the film’s most crucial and emotionally eviscerating scene.
The scarce conversations ruminate on the nature of love, sex and freedom. At times, the film slips into cliches and platitudes: “freedom is about the choice not to lie”, plus countless pearls of knowledge about the essence of freedom. The banal romance talk in which lovers commonly engage. There is no epiphany, no intellectual climax. Yet it feels candid and accessible. Who hasn’t pondered on the meaning of love and boundaries of freedom while engaging with a fleeting lover?
The film might feel a little petit bourgeois for those who do not own an enormous countryside house by the lake with speedboat et al, but for Scandinavian living standards this is not that unusual at all. Nevertheless, the story feels relatable. It just won’t stay with you for a long time. In other words: neither unmissable nor unwatchable.
The Wait has just premiered at the 25th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, as part of the event’s Official Selection. It boasts being “the first carbon-negative film in the world”. A Finnish non-profit organisation collaborated with the filmmakers and helped with calculating and compensating the carbon footprint of the production. Most of the electricity came from solar panels, they only used electric cars and second-hand clothes (not particularly difficult for the Wife, who appears mostly on her birthday suit).