It's oh so quiet and oh so still. Director Daisuke Tengan continues to explore the eloquence of silence and the depth of gestures in "Waiting in the Dark" (Kurai Tokoro De Machiawase). Tengan, who penned the disquieting "Audition," knows all too well the weight of deliberate---okay, slow---storytelling and this mostly silent film is heavy with intriguing pauses.
Structured in three chapters, Michiru, Akihiro, Michiru and Akihiro, it explores the lives of a blind girl and outcast immigrant Akihiro and how their loneliness converge after the young man is suspected of murder and secretly hides in Michiru's house. Michiru first thinks it is her dead father haunting the house until she begins counting the loaves of bread. Understated is an understatement when Tengan lets even the simplest chore quietly unfurl but the sudden attack of memories---parallel point of views that complete a picture---make the silence necessary.
The situations are oftentimes questionable (Can she not smell him? And yeah, the guy is cute but a stranger invading your home is still a creepy idea) but it is undeniably fascinating to watch both tiptoe around each other's narrative until their pasts overlap. Wilson Chen (Chen Bo-lin) and Rena Tanaka (brooding, luminous) are eyecandies with a solid center, and admittedly, a huge part of my enjoyment of the film is appropriated to their simmering chemistry in this almost love story. ***
The HK version of the DVD costs only HK$35. No extra features.