Waiting for the Light to ChangeDirected by Linh Tran
Cast: Jin Park, Joyce Ha, Qun Chi, Sam Straley
Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, 2023 Slamdance Film Festival
Waves crashing in and out. Joints being shared like communion. Contemplative questions and reflections with every husky breath. WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE explores the tangled dynamics of relationships as three women and two men take a weeklong vacation at a lake house. Within this crew of characters, the film follows Amy, who has undergone dramatic weight-loss and is lost in their life, and how she navigates her relationships. Conflict arises between her friendship with Kim, who is successful in most aspects of her life but still feels loneliness, and her feelings for Kim’s boyfriend Jay, resulting in a palpable tension and distance as the vacation progresses.
Hints of Hong Sang-soo can be felt in every dialogue where there’s introspection but also a quiet desperation for a resolute solution. As if they’re aware of their fragile bonds, characters simmer with judgment, resentment, and sexual tension. Outwardly though, they mask their emotions with distance and reluctance, paralleling the beautifully isolated lake house shots in the film.
A coming-of-age love song for viewers who have felt lost or confused in their twenties, WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE acknowledges the difficulties and waywardness of an in-between age and explores the changing tides of the personal and the interpersonal.
– Alissa Tu