Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
"Set in a Mauritanian coastal town that functions as a transit point, director Abderrahmane Sissako's Waiting for Happiness (winner of the FIPRESCI award at Cannes 2002 for best film in the Un Certain Regard section) is a poignant, poetic reflection on themes of exile, travel, home and displacement. Its impressionistic observations continue to coalesce and its soulful mood lingers well after the end credits.
"Nouadhibou is a windblown village of mainly temporary housing, which most people merely pass through. The outside world enters with 17-year-old Abdallah, visiting his mother before leaving for Europe. Listless, unconnected and unable to speak the local language, he becomes a mute observer of life in the village.
"Underscored by songs and the sounds of wind and sea, this gentle drama casts a cumulative spell as its simple, beautifully composed images wash over the viewer. The themes of solitude, limbo and isolation are delicately countered by the spirit and severity of the villagers, played by a non-professional cast given freedom to improvise." - Variety
Abderrahmane Sissako (born in Mauritania, 1961) lived in Mali as a child and studied film in Moscow. His latest film, Life on Earth, screened at MIFF in 1999.