Future Frames 2017 Review: Waiting For Ana

A sharply observed portrayal of both grief and the disconnection between two siblings, Waiting For Ana is a film in which the seismic shifts in a person’s life are found in those seemingly small moments of connection.

Anna returns to her family home on the occasion of her mother’s death. There she re-unites with brother Niko. It becomes clear that there is a disconnection between the two with their conversation strained, their interaction with one another an exercise in clipped politeness as opposed to familial love. As the rituals of grief and mourning constantly interrupt their time together, it takes a memory of times past to bring the two back together.

Director Giorgi Mukhadze eschews excessive exposition in the film and lets the subtlety of the performances from leads Giorgi Giorganashvili and Ana Makashvili speak volumes. As the erstwhile sibling Anna brings with her a wave of quiet chaos that invades the home that she once lived, disturbing a dust sheet covered mirror or wearing her deceased mother’s clothes. Anna has been displaced from the house and her status amongst the family is in flux. This is emphasised by her early scenes with Niko. He constantly tries to reconnect with Anna but soon leaves the shot, leaving her isolated in the frame. Whatever the schism is between the two, it’s clear that it is difficult for them to be together.

The process of grief is also explored with moments such as Niko sitting in his mother’s wheelchair giving impressions of quiet introspection but also an air of loneliness and isolation. It’s these moments that juxtapose with the final moments of the film, as Anna finds some old tape recordings. The music seems to blast through the dust and formality both of the ceremonies of mourning and of the frosty relationship of Anna and Niko. Nostalgia can lead to sadness, grief and unhappiness. But it can also lead to joy and reminders of good times once lived.

Dito Dekanosidze’s is measured and static utilising relatively long shots used to explore Anna and Niko’s fractured dynamic. Again, this gives the final scenes an air of freedom and release as the energy seems tangible compared to what has gone before. While chiefly utilising one location – namely the family flat – the film avoids the excessive theatricality that can often dog an intimate character study.

Waiting For Ana, which will be having its International Premiere during European Film Promotion's Future Frames at the upcoming edition of Karlovy Vary, is Mukhadze’s graduation piece from the Shota Rustaveli Theater and Film School at Georgia State University. It’s precise use of the short film form – in that it uses small and intimate moments to create a drama that reflects huges changes in a person's outlook – should see it win quite a few favourable slots on the festival circuit over the months to come.

You can read an interview with Giorgi Mukhadze HERE

Film Information
Original Title: Anas molodinshi
English Title: Waiting For Ana
Director: Giorgi Mukhadze
Country: Georgia
Year: 2016
Run Time: 16 mins
Contact: Georgian National Film Center, info@gnfc.ge

30 June 2017, by Laurence Boyce