Friday, June 18, 2010
Sydney Film Festival: The Waiting City
Radha Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) shine on the streets of Calcutta in Claire McCarthy’s sumptuous sophomore feature. The pair brings a beautiful naturalism to their roles as Fiona and Ben Simmons, a married couple anxiously awaiting the final bureaucratic requirements of a lengthy adoption process. Fiona is a driven lawyer to Ben’s laid-back musician, and any cracks in this dynamic are soon thrown into stark relief as the oppressive Indian heat and high pressure stakes of their increasingly delayed adoption draw doubts, desires and long held secrets to the surface.
The first Australian film to be entirely shot on location in India, The Waiting City is doubtless a logistical as well as a cinematic triumph. Working with her husband, cinematographer Denson Baker (The Black Balloon), McCarthy shows herself equally capable of traversing the film’s complex physical landscape as well as her screenplay’s ardent emotional themes. She also carefully avoids any judgment this white couple adopting an Indian baby; save for their guide Krishna’s (Samrat Chakrabarti) one pointed comment about Fiona, ‘taking from Mother India.’
Motherhood – in its many guises – is indeed the beating heart of this film, which unfolds in an unhurried manner, as befitting its title. And Mitchell and Edgerton are magnificent together on screen, their characters’ inner turmoil set starkly against Baker’s beautiful images. Working its way into your heart though compelling performances, captivating images and compassionate storytelling, The Waiting City is undeniably a film upon which you want to linger.
Published by Street Press Australia
Australian release date: 15 July 2010