10 user 27 critic

Waiting for Happiness (2002)

Heremakono (original title)
The story of two people who cross paths in Nouhadhibou.
8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bamako (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Bamako. Melé is a bar singer, her husband Chaka is out of work and the couple is on the verge of breaking up... In the courtyard of the house they share with other families, a trial court ... See full summary »

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Stars: Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré, Maimouna Hélène Diarra
Life on Earth (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the last days of 1999, after a few shots of a French supermarket, abundant in food and color, we hear Dramane compose a letter home to his father in Mali whom he then visits in the ... See full summary »

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Stars: Abderrahmane Sissako, Nana Baby, Mohamed Sissako
Timbuktu (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed.

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Stars: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki
Hyenas (1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A once-prosperous Senegalese village has been falling further into poverty year by year until the village's elders are reduced to selling town possessions to pay debts. Linguère, a former ... See full summary »

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty
Stars: Ami Diakhate, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Mansour Diouf
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A large, claustrophobic apartment is the setting for this intense chamber drama. In this dense setting, the inhabitants of the apartment reveal their darkest secrets, fears, obsessions and hostilities.

Director: Béla Tarr
Stars: Hédi Temessy, Erika Bodnár, Miklós B. Székely
Black Girl (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A black girl from Senegal becomes a servant in France.

Director: Ousmane Sembene
Stars: Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine
The River (1997)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Taiwan, Xiao-kang, a young man in his early 20s, lives with his parents in near silence. He is plagued by severe neck pain. His father is bedeviled by water first leaking into his ... See full summary »

Director: Ming-liang Tsai
Stars: Tien Miao, Kang-sheng Lee, Yi-Ching Lu
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of a love affair that begins during a picnic on the Thai-Burmese border.

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Stars: Kanokporn Tongaram, Min Oo, Jenjira Pongpas
Still Life (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Zhou Lan, Sanming Han
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two unemployed Chinese teenagers have trouble resisting the temptations of the Western world.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Wei Wei Zhao, Qiong Wu, Tao Zhao
Rostov-Luanda (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
The World (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An exploration on the impact of urbanization and globalization on a traditional culture.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Taishen Cheng, Jue Jing


Cast overview, first billed only:
Khatra Ould Abder Kader ...
Maata Ould Mohamed Abeid ...
Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed ...
Fatimetou Mint Ahmeda ...
Soukeyna, the mother
Nana Diakité ...
Makanfing Dabo ...
Santha Leng ...
Baba Ould Mini ...
Mickaël Onoimweniku ...
Diallo Ibrahima Sory ...
Cheick Oumar Tembely ...
Jerib Ould Jiddou ...
Le chauffeur de taxi
Mohamed Salem Ould Dendou ...
Le docteur
Mohamed Lemine ...
Le réparateur électricien
Aminala Tembely ...
La petite fille aux tresses


On the seacoast of Mauritania, some wait to go to Europe. Khatra, a spirited boy, wants an electric light so he can read at night. A stoic older man, Maata, tries to wire the room. Abdallah, a youth on his way to Europe, says good-bye to his mother. Nana looks back on the death of her daughter and her trip to Europe to inform the father. A girl takes singing lessons. Rooms have small windows, looking out onto foot traffic; transistor radios provide some link beyond. Huge ships anchor in the distance. The train comes through, stopping briefly. Offering a cigarette is a gesture of hospitality. Sand dunes and the ocean dominate the landscape. Hope springs amidst small expectations. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | singing | ship | sand | radio | See All (41) »


Drama | Music


See all certifications »





| |

Release Date:

15 January 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Boldogságra várva  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


€1,450,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,982 (USA) (4 April 2003)


$1,982 (USA) (4 April 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Laid-back and beautiful
17 January 2003 | by (France) – See all my reviews

This is a quiet, unpretentious little film that should not be seen by those whose cinematic preferences run towards car-chases and Rambo-shoot'emups. It portrays life in a Mauretanian (Northwest African) small coastal town called Nouhadhibou. We meet an elderly electrician named Maata and his pre-teen apprentice Khadra (the star of the show); another subplot, less interesting in my view, tells the story of a son returning from overseas; he speaks only French and not the local Hassanya language, so he is condemned to remain an outsider.

You can predict whether you will like this film or not by whether or not you like recent Iranian films. As in such films, nothing particularly newsworthy ever happens in _En attendant le bonheur_ : people just go about the everyday business of living their lives, lives which are punctuated by the tranquil dailuy rituals of Islam. For me the charm of this film resides, as it does in much Iranian cinema, largely in the beauty of the images (bright blues and reds of the local fabrics against the white of the omnipresent sand dunes); and the sheer luxurious leisureliness of the pace (watch the scene where two interlocutors argue about whether X is in Tangiers or is Spain : Interlocutor 1 ; He's in Spain. (25 second pause). Interlocutor 2: He's in Tangier. Interlocutor 1 (40 second pause) : He's in Spain. Interlocutor 2 (60 second pause): he's in Tangier, etc., etc....)

Above all, what will stay in my mind is the beautiful relation between the young apprentice Khadra and the wizened old electrician Maata. Maata is, in fact, extremely crabby, and he's not much of an electrician. In one scene he attempts to string up a lightbulb in a woman's house ; it doesn't work, no matter what he tries. Later we see Matta and Khatra sitting outside the house ; Matta is smoking, and his dignified, weatherbeaten face shows no sign of emotion. Yet Khadra can tell his master is feeling bad ; he puts his arm around the old man's shoulders and tells him over and over again, with a repetitiousness Western customs would find intolerable, that everything's going to be all right. The other memorable aspect of the film : an old *griotte* or traditional singer, brilliantly gifted, teaches her craft to a girl of about twelve. Their singing, alternatively spine-tinglingly virtuoso and hoarsely off-key, punctuates the film to tremendous effect.

One is left with an impression of dignity, melancholy, fragility and imminent loss, marked by images and moments of striking beauty and tremendous gentleness, as when, around a nighttime fire, Matta tells the story of a long-lost friend who gave in to the temptations of sailing away to the mysterious lands of Spain and France, never to be heard from again ; as Khatra falls asleep, resting his head against the old man's chest.

Sounds corny ? Perhaps it is ; or perhaps the fact that we find it so tells us more about our own jaded cynicism than about the way of living of such resolutely non-Western countries. Recent Iranian films, which also like to use the viewpoint of children to show an innocent way of looking at life of which we cynical Westerners have long since ceased to be capable, are regularly lambasted by the oh-so-hip Parisian press : such films have no political consciousness, it is claimed ; no avant-garde cinematographic techniques, no pretentious imagery. Yet Sissako's film provides us with precious insight into the day-to-day life of the people of Mauretania, whom we might otherwise known only as statistics in some obscure war or famine. They show us a world wholly different from ours, which initially strikes us as appallingly boring and primitive, but soon has us wondering which of us - the Mauretanians or us inhabitants of Western late-capitalist "democracies" - are really living the more authentic, dignifed, and satisfying existence.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Waiting for Happiness (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: