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Waiting for Happiness


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Waiting for Happiness + Bamako + A Screaming Man
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Product Details

  • Actors:  Maata Ould Mohamed Abeid Khatra Ould Abder Kader
  • Directors: Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OIOPOU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,447 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DVD Details: Mauritania/France, 2002, 91 minutes, Color, Region 1, NTSC, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0, Widescreen for 16x9 TVs/Letterboxed on 4x3 TVs, Optional English subtitles, In French and Hassanya; Special Features: Interview with the Director (from Link TV's Cinemondo world cinema series with host Peter Scarlet, Artistic Director, Tribeca Film Festival); theatrical trailers; director's notes & bio; scene selections; liner notes with an essay by Jared Rapfogel. Winner of the International Critics' Award at the Cannes Film Festival.


Abderrahmane Sissako (BAMAKO) has established himself as one of Africa's leading filmmakers. This hypnotic tone poem confirms Sissako's talent for capturing the essence of a particular place through evocative imagery, low-key comedy, and close observation of everyday life. In this case, the place is a spectacularly isolated, wind-scoured cluster of adobe buildings perched on a bleached desert plain that ends abruptly at the blue ocean. The lives of its inhabitants, in keeping with this austere environment, are pared down to two basic choices: adaptation or exile. In the latter category is Abdallah, a citified college student who temporarily returns home and, unable to speak or dress like a native, becomes painfully, comically alienated. Opposed to him is Khatra, an alert, curious boy apprenticed to the wizardly local electrician, who demonstrates how apparent oppositions (such as magic/technology, globalization/village life) might be reconciled through improvisation and patience. The precision of Sissako's compositions evokes Antonioni and Ozu, but the loose narrative structure is closer to Altman and Wenders. WAITING FOR HAPPINESS spins its overlapping stories and intersecting characters into a prismatic cascade of enigmas, epiphanies, deadpan gags, and haunting images. J. Hoberman of THE VILLAGE VOICE described the film as 'refreshing… as welcome as a cool breeze on a summer afternoon' and David Parkinson of EMPIRE declared 'it's impossible to remain unmoved.'

Review

A deeply touching masterwork… I loved this film. ----Phillip Lopate, FILM COMMENT

4 STARS… Visually intense, emotionally rich. ----Harper Barnes, ST. LOUIS DISPATCH

LOVELY… [a] gem of a picture. ----Elvis Mitchell, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric M. Eiserloh on July 30, 2007
Format: DVD
While not for everyone (the antithesis of a hollywood film), "Waiting For Happiness" is pure cinema at its finest, and one of the best African movies I have ever seen. Reminiscent of contemporary Iranian cinema," Sissako's poetic imagery resonates with a sense of place and describes the lives of those who inhabit it. While there is an absence of plot and scripted dialogue, as well as no particular protagonist, the story is marked by the characterizations and tempo that reveal a real community. Sandwiched between the ocean and the dessert, between ancient rituals and modern adaptations, fluctuating between hope and acceptance (life and death), always with patience, dignity, and compassion, Sissako (director of the recent Bamako) doesn't try to explain, but gives us an experience to sink into, and provides enough information for us to make sense of; everything swept by the wind....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By █ R I Z Z O VINE VOICE on March 8, 2009
Format: DVD
Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness) 2002, is a movie that to fully understand the "poetic tone" of the director, you may need to see it more than once. It is clearly NOT for everyone, it moves slow, is in minimalist style and is more of one observing the culture rather than with plot and action. The film is through the poetic eyes of the director, Abderrahmane Sissako. Set in the Sahara desert that meets with the Atlantic ocean, the village is isolated, barren and with the wind howling through the desert.

Abdallah, a young man stops in his hometown village during his travels. The village is young and old settled people, adobe huts, clothes of colorful flowing robes, music, dance and a still life. And the visit to his homeland proves he isn't comfortable, can't speak the language, and he seems lost in his own homeland. He is an observer to the customs, traditional dress and the language. Unable to communicate, Abdallah learns from a young boy and is ridiculed by young women. This is a film where the young and old are closely associated, passing down songs, knowledge, customs and wisdom.

In the DVD Features, director Sissako said that without language skills, a person's point of view becomes a mode of communication. The point of view sharpens and he pays closer attention to the world around him. Hence, that is what the viewer observes, a point of view. You have to be able to grasp beneath the surface, to view the poetic language and follow the symbolic meaning. For that matter, one may not even understand it. But the viewer observes as much as the young man Abdallah. Don't try waiting for a plot to thicken or any revelations, you just observe the culture, the barriers, the meanings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M on April 17, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
How do you represent the process of deciding whether to leave your country for a better life abroad? How does someone from Sub-Saharan Africa or Mauritania make up his or her mind? What goodbyes take place? What do you leave behind? Abderrahmane Sissako, the filmmaker, features several characters (and generations) and uses the format of what some are now calling "slow cinema" to flesh out the ins and outs of "departing."
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