Europe's greatest forgotten filmmaker

WAITING… (1957, UK)

The result of an abandoned adaptation of British playwright Samuel Beckett’s work Waiting for Godot, “Waiting...” is the tale of two unemployed laborers (unnamed but based on Vladimir and Estragon in the Beckett play) waiting for their foreman to show up and assign them work.  The film’s dialogue is in a made-up language comprizing English and Esperanto, and Gadyukin further insisted that it have no subtitles.  It is by far Gadyukin’s most experimental film.

As the unnamed men wait, wandering around ever-changing yet strangely similar landscapes of shattered buildings and refuse-strewn wasteland, jet planes scream overhead, making them run for cover.  There is a feeling of nuclear threat, with both men speaking just one English word – “nothing” - and an ominous soundtrack by John Veale.   Despite the bleak locations, Gadyukin conjures some impressive imagery – the laborers warming their hands over a brazier at the top of a seemingly endless, spiral staircase, an abandoned pair of child’s ballet shoes, a row of wine bottles exploded in an impromptu firing range. 

Although almost entirely lacking in conventional plot or structure, the film is not without dramatic incident or moments of powerful beauty.  Waiting... also contains much broad comedy, which often spills over unpredictably into acts of cruelty as the more loquacious of the men plays a series of vicious pranks upon the other, culminating in a lengthy and farcical fight.  Needless to say, the much anticipated arrival of the foreman never happens.