×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Forever Waiting

Film explores the vast network of spies and informers deployed under Franco to stifle any shadow of dissent.

With:
With: Carolina Bona, Jesus Noguero, Albert Prat, Alfonso Torregrosa, Jose Maria Asin, Carmen Leon, Carmen San Esteban. (Spanish dialogue)

Francisco Avizanda’s brilliant debut feature, “Forever Waiting,” set in 1953 Spain, explores the vast network of spies and informers deployed under Franco to stifle any shadow of dissent. Unlike “The Lives of Others,” which centered on a professional information-gatherer, “Waiting” zeroes in on an amateur — a pretty young secretary at a radio station, one of thousands who betrayed fellow citizens for God, country, advancement or simple survival. As played by a chillingly opaque Caroline Bona, Gilda reps the ultimate offspring of the fascist state. Austere pic would require strong critical support to reach wider auds.

An orphan raised by church and state to obey unquestioningly, if cynically, Gilda spends her spare time listening at doors and noting what people let slip in conversation, ever ready to sneak names to her “uncle” (Jesus Noguero), the chief of police. (The hints at childhood sexual abuse by cops and cardinals register as less horrific than Gilda’s jaded acceptance of it.)

Gilda’s ambition is simple, and she clings to it with the obstinacy of the dispossessed: to get a job as an announcer at the propaganda-spewing Catholic radio station where she toils as a secretary.

Avizanda often films his heroine in closeup, but her lovely mask of a face — Bressonian, but without the soul — is beyond interpretation, less because she adeptly hides her feelings than because she appears to lack any inner life. It is hard to empathize with her even when she is being exploited, since she displays no empathy toward others.

Avizanda’s genius lies in his ability to portray Gilda (the reference to the Rita Hayworth noir is deliberate) as both monster and victim. The myriad exchanges she brokers with others become power games with varying stakes and styles. Her concierge’s chummy complicity proves no match for Gilda’s dispassionate blackmail, and even Franco’s master manipulator ultimately underestimates the ruthlessness of his pretty pawn.

Jon D. Dominguez’s lensing of Madrid’s massive, drably grandiose architecture is an apt fit for the impenetrable Gilda. On the soundtrack, march-like pasadobles, popular at the time, musically mark out the beat of joyless collectivity. Nevertheless, Avizanda’s overall vision of Franco’s Spain never quite equals his sure-handed grasp of his unforgettable main character.

Forever Waiting

Production: An Izaba Films, Muxika production, in co-production with Fair Films, ETB. (International sales: Izaba Films/Muxika, Madrid.) Produced by Elisabeth Perello-Santandreu, Francisco Avizanda. Directed, written by Francisco Avizanda.

Crew: Camera (color), Jon D. Dominguez; editor, Santos Salinas; music, Goran Kajfes, David Osterberg; art director, Idoia Esteban; costume designer, Juana Buendia; sound (Dolby digital), Imanol Lopez, Ivan Mayoral; sound designer, Pedro Barbadillo. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Sept. 2, 2009. Running time: 122 MIN.

With: With: Carolina Bona, Jesus Noguero, Albert Prat, Alfonso Torregrosa, Jose Maria Asin, Carmen Leon, Carmen San Esteban. (Spanish dialogue)

More Film

  • 'Liga' Kicks Off At Ventana Sur's

    Ventana Sur: 'La Liga' Kicks Off at Buenos Aires' Animation!

    Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three key events in Ibero-American animation, will join forces to create La Liga (The League), as announced Wednesday at an Animation! round table hosted by the Quirino Awards, titled “Iberoamerican Alliance Models.” Speakers included Quirino Awards promoter José Luis Farias, Mexico’s Pixelatl director José Iñesta, Gonzalo [...]

  • The Quake Review

    Film Review: 'The Quake'

    Roar Uthaug’s 2015 “The Wave” revived the pleasures of the 1970s disaster-movie cycle in a form that seemed purer than the never-quite-dead genre’s recent Stateside incarnations — most of which seem to involve Dwayne Johnson in a generic pileup of CGI perils. “The Wave” wasn’t high art, but it was entertainment that delivered some standard [...]

  • The Mule trailer

    Film Review: Clint Eastwood in 'The Mule'

    From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly [...]

  • Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, ‘The Realm,’

    ‘The Realm,’ ‘Champions,’ Cruz and Bardem Among Spanish Academy Goya Nominations

    MADRID — Spain’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the nominees for the 33rdedition of the Goya Awards, to be held at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Sevilla on Feb. 2, 2019. Leading the pack with 13 nominations is Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s ultra-current political thriller “The Realm,” which impressed in San [...]

  • Sony Pictures to release Pedro Almodovar’s

    Sony Pictures to Release Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Pain & Glory' (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a break from his Spanish distributor of past years, Warner Bros., Pedro Almodovar has opted to release his latest film “Pain & Glory” in Spain via Sony Pictures Releasing International on March 22, 2019. “We are delighted and excited that we are releasing “Pain & Glory” in Spain with a whole new team: Sony Pictures in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content