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The trailer for The Waiting City.

To adopt a child is to wait, and to wait in a city far from home can be an exciting thing – or a test of all one's resources. In the case of Claire McCarthy's epic, glistening new feature, those on hold are a young Australian couple, Fiona (Radha Mitchell) and Ben (Joel Edgerton), who arrive in Kolkata to claim their adopted child.

Outwardly happy and connected, Ben and Fiona are nonplussed when they discover that their adoption arrangements have hit some bureaucratic snags, even when their Western-style problem-solving skills prove ineffective at helping the situation along. As they dig in for a long wait, they comfort themselves with the assurance that their new daughter Lakshmi, whose picture they have cherished for months, will still be theirs. So, they wait: Fiona works from her laptop while Ben ventures out into the city in search of new experiences and friends. One of these new-found acquaintances is Scarlett (Isabel Lucas), a girl whose easy acclimatization to the rhythms of Kolkata seems to match Ben's own.

As time passes, it also seems to intensify, and the couple respond very differently to the chaos, colour and allure of the city around them. Frustrated by the delays surrounding matters they assumed to be solved, Ben and Fiona inevitably turn on each other, and are forced to confront their differences, long-held resentments and secrets. The hoped-for break in the adoption proceedings does come, but by then there is a question of whether their shattered relationship can, or even should, continue.

But Kolkata doesn't just take, it gives, and McCarthy's deep personal knowledge of the city and its gifts is woven into every strand of the story's fabric. Edgerton and Mitchell provide beautifully articulated performances, ably supported by Lucas, Samrat Chakrabarti as Krishna, a hotel worker they befriend, and Tilotamma Shome as Sister Tessila, a compassionate nun from the adoption centre. Cinematographer Denson Baker's stunning photography captures the vibrant Kolkata with a rich complexity that does true justice to the city and those waiting people within it.

Film Info

(2013)
1 min 23 sec Duration
17,911 views
  • Posted: September 18, 2009
  • Director: Claire McCarthy
  • Writer: Claire McCarthy
  • Studio: Independent
  • Release: 2009
  • Cast: Radha Mitchell, Joel Edgerton, Samrat Chakrabarti

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