Waiting For August

Many things in this world are universal. One of those things is family and the responsibility that goes along with it. The new documentary Waiting For August is a simple film, one which highlights the importance of family togetherness and unconditional love. It takes place in Romania, a land that is fairly unfamiliar to Americans but the film’s ultimate message and style are easy to understand and almost impossible to forget. It is a foreign film with a theme spoken all around the world and in volumes.

Waiting For August follows Georgiana Halmac, a 15 year-old girl living in Bacau, Romania. She has six siblings and they live in a social housing condo. Their mother is called away to work in Italy for a few months and it is up to Georgiana to assume the role of matriarch until the mother returns in August (hence the title). She is young but not young enough to make sacrifices and push herself to be a model caregiver. The bulk of the film follows her as she balances caring for her young brothers and sisters, handling schoolwork and socializing with friends. The viewer gets an inside look at how a large family makes due and basically survives and functions when a parent is temporarily out of the picture.

Most documentaries aim to educate and enlighten audiences on a particular topic. While Waiting For August isn’t exactly a history lesson or eye-opening expose, it shines a light on a close-knit family unit that loves one another very much and has nothing but respect for each other.

Young director Theodora Ana Mihai has taken us inside the Halmac home and she’s done so in a way that is discreet and respectful. At no point in the film does it seem as though the family’s privacy is jeopardized. Mihai has basically made herself an unofficial member of the family and her viewpoint is our viewpoint. We see and experience everything she does and it is actually a very interesting thing. The Halmac clan is just like any other family and their day to day lives are put on display and can at times, can be quite entertaining.

15 year-old Georgiana Halmac is the real star here and she isn’t even acting! She is simply doing what she normally does and the Mihai’s camera never seems to faze her. We get a bird’s eye view into Georgiana’s life and it is really quite fascinating. In the absence of her busy mother, Georgiana does the chores, feeds and clothes her siblings, and makes sure they do their schoolwork. She is really a model “mother” and a hero in many ways. She is an inspiration to young women everywhere.

Waiting For August is a strong look at family values and responsibility. Few films manage to capture the realness of family life but this film does so in a way that is quite beautiful. Georgiana is the young heroine of this story and director Mihai has captured her heroism excellently. The shaky camera and grittiness of Romania is also captured quite well and serves as a great backdrop to tell this delightful and true story.

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