Anna lives in an isolated rural villa in the Sicilian countryside and she shares its spacious silent rooms with Pietro, the handyman. She just discovered to have suffered a painful loss in her family when Jeanne, the girlfriend of her son Giuseppe, arrives from France to pay him a visit during the Easter holidays. But Giuseppe is nowhere to be found so Jeanne spends a few days with Anna waiting for him to get back home.

The film opens with the camera gracefully moving around an effigy of Christ on the cross anticipating the theme of grief and introducing the sublime visual style of the entire work. The silence and the isolation are the two key elements that allow Anna and Jeanne to develop their own closed world in which it is hard to spot truth from lies and the two are so tightly intertwined together that in the end it doesn't even matter who's lying and who's not.

"The Wait" is all about pauses, silences and spaces filled with magnificent imaginary visuals and a heart-rending performance by Juliette Binoche. The director Piero Messina, assistant director on Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty", has learnt from one of world's best contemporary filmmakers how to speak the language of cinema and, with this masterful debut, he has forced his way up to the top of the list of the up-and-coming best Italian directors to keep an eye on.

Giampietro Balia / PÖFF

Italy / France 2015