Time of Impatience – Review

Time Of ImpatienceA long, arid summer is about to commence. Dust weaves its way across the pavements. Every surface is drenched in a yellow glow. You can practically feel your mouth dry up. Spaces with no air conditioning feel like sealed torture chambers. Wouldn’t it be nice to cool off in a glistening, turquoise swimming pool?

That is the backdrop of writer / director Aydin Orak’s Time of Impatience. Young twin brothers, Mirhat and Mirza, find themselves at an extreme disadvantage when a summer heatwave hits their semi-rural village. They live in more traditional housing and have not been able to move into the shiny, new urbanisations which – you guessed it – come complete with a communal pool. Determined not to miss out, they hatch a number of attempts to experience a refreshing dip and, inadvertently, find themselves coming to understand class prejudice along the way.

From the offset, the twins are established as mischievous. They are the class jokers – literally, getting asked to crack one liners to entertain their peers. They are two little bundles of energy, always skipping and running or dancing and singing. They chatter away like two old men, with wild gesticulations and rubbery facial expressions surely picked up from spending time listening to stories from their father and uncles. Their initial naivete as to why they cannot swim in a local pool quickly forms a sense of injustice and understanding of class divides.

The twins are from “the lower neighbourhood”, where dirt roads exist instead of pavements and houses seem to be crumbling from the top down. A maze of narrow alleyways packs in homes, shops and facilities. Even their school seems poorly funded, with not enough teachers and no air conditioning to fend off the stifling summer heat. Revolutionary graffiti is scattered everywhere, encouraging children to read and young people to rise up beyond their circumstances. Their father maintains that education is their only way out and challenges the twins to learn a new word every day from his socialist theory book. He stares, in wide eyed wonder, as the TV shows glossy new urbanisations; a standard of living he is too poor to afford.

This is a film with a rather serious message at its heart, one that it chooses to explore through the vim and vigour of its two main characters. For the twins, what begins as a simple desire to cool off in the summer heat quickly becomes a bit of social activism. There’s a couple of scenes where the boys take turns to yell “I will swim in this pool!” over and over again, directly into the camera. Their childish insults hurled at the swimming pool security guard (“Your brain is so small, you should get a new one at the grocery store!”) are replaced by chants of “You big bourgeoise!” or “You rich build your assets by exploiting the poor!”.

There is also the notion of tradition (as seen through their father) versus modernisation (the new, slick communities that are springing up and the encouragement and support offered by their school teacher). Can you really live with a foot on either side of the divide? More than this, is it possible to escape your social circumstances or is class inescapable? Beyond the swimming pool, will Mirhat and Mirza ever be property owners inside one of the brightly coloured urbanisations?

The use of colour is very telling, too. Mirhat and Mirza spend their days in a sepia coloured classroom or kicking up mud that is so dry it is drained of colour. Their house belongs in a street full of muted tones and stark emptiness. This is contrasted with the high saturation of the urbanisations, where buildings are glistening glass, warm peaches or inviting teals. The swimming pool that they so desire is patterned with bright red, yellow and blue tiles that positively beam in the sunlight. The turquoise water shimmers whilst the twins yearn for it from behind a grey concrete slab. The grass is literally greener for these twins.

There are a couple of pacing issues with the film. It does seem to go round in a loop for the first hour or so – school, swimming pool, repeat – whilst it establishes the notions of class prejudice. If it wasn’t for the entertaining performances of the twins, this could become a bit dull or, worse, undermine the message that is being conveyed.

However, the ending is quite stark in its short, sharp cuts that it really manages to hammer those divides home. You really feel sympathy for the twins and wonder how their experiences will manifest themselves – as bitterness or as a desire to escape.

Time of Impatience is screening at the Glasgow Film Festival 2022. Click here to get your tickets.

Mary Munoz
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