Review: Waiting for the Flood-Teibô wa kôzu i o matte iru (2005)


Directed by: Masafumi Yamada | 50 minutes | drama | Actors: Mahiro Hattori, Taro Iwai, Teruhiko Nobukuni, Eiji Teshima

The beginning of ‘Waiting for the Flood’ is reminiscent of the musical scene in the factory from ‘Dancer in the Dark’ or the similar scene in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers vehicle ‘Shall We Dance’, in which the rattle and hiss of machines provides the rhythm in the scenes. In “Waiting for the Flood” it initially seems to be about lifeless characters: we see a welder sitting rigid behind a machine while occasionally a bright light appears from his welding machine. However, the man himself does not move, so it seems to be a series of photos pasted together. But then we see him raise his head and turn his welding helmet up.

The senses and expectations of the viewer are played in an interesting way. The scene that follows is also surprising in terms of content, and also comical, in a dark way. The scene in which a mentally handicapped employee, a sadistic boss, and the welder just mentioned sets an appealing absurdist tone, but unfortunately it is no longer matched in the rest of the film, although it is sometimes closely approximated. is going to be. The relationship between a woman and one of the factory workers is not entirely clear and does not go smoothly. Communication is problematic. Sex takes place spontaneously when a spoon falls on the floor, but there is hardly any real talking to each other or looking at each other.

Cinematic, “Waiting for the Flood” is distant, with a camera technique that uses either completely still images in which the characters figure, or a fierce handheld camera is deployed. A simple movement with characters is rare. Subsequently, Ozu-like, punctuating shots are used, but the many resting points do not provide these, due to the alienating content of the central images and the lack of identification with the characters. Interesting, however, is the conversation between the man and woman that takes place at the end of the film, and is depicted by just showing shots of a table with empty chairs, from different angles and distances. We don’t see the characters, but we hear their voices, as if they are actually in front of us. It is a captivating effect and intriguing in terms of (symbolic) implications.

All in all, “Waiting for the Flood” is a bit too inscrutable and clinical to be able to do much as a viewer. The often unclear sequence of the images and the elusive reactions of the characters to what happens or is done to them, makes this short film by Yamada only a potentially interesting film.

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