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Mathes, B. (2016). Ev'ry Time We Wait: Victor Erice's Alumbramiento. DIVISION/Rev., 14:20-22.

(2016). DIVISION/Review, 14:20-22

Ev'ry Time We Wait: Victor Erice's Alumbramiento

Bettina Mathes

In the cinema people learn what they might have been and discover what belongs to them apart from their single lives. (Berger, 1991)

Every time we wait … we put ourselves at risk. Why? Because a lot can go wrong. If I wait too long or not long enough, I'll miss out. Unable to seize the right moment, I wait and I wait and I wait … impatiently or in patience, helpless, with nothing but my breath to keep me going; waiting for someone to put an end to my waiting; waiting for satisfaction to arrive; waiting for satisfaction to pass me by. Because nothing is happening, anything is possible. Those are no small risks. But the greatest danger lies in experiencing myself as a desiring self: wanting, greedy, exposed, subject to the fear that sets in when who I might become attacks the very core of my being. Waiting takes us back to our earliest beginnings when we waited (needed to wait) … to be held, to be loved, and to be found. And when someone kindly kept the rendezvous, waited for you so that you could find them. We tend to forget that it is through waiting and being waited for that we come to know what hope is. (Many of us also come to know what dread is.) Waiting is, perhaps, our first experience of time, and of desire.

Every time I write (and read) I am forced to think about waiting. To write (and, though to a lesser degree, to read) is to be hyper-aware of time. Every comma, colon, slash, and dash, every hyphen, bracket, and apostrophe, every full stop, question mark, and every exclamation point denotes a kind of hesitation: long or short, fearful or relaxed, demanding or understanding, precise or ambiguous.

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