Thank You for Patiently Waiting

By Max Marklund and Anders Jacobsson | Drama
A man in a car accident sees his life flash before his eyes.

Josef is out in the middle of nowhere, thanks to a car accident that has stranded him. But just as the accident is about to get worse, he finds himself propelled into a tangle of memories. He remembers his severely depressed father as well as his warm, loving mother. He remembers his neighbor being angry after a raucous party.

He remembers a New Year's Eve party that ends with vomiting... and an unexpected romance that will change his life. And just as he untangles these intertwined moments, he sees just how they are connected.

Written and directed by Max Marklund and Anders Jacobsson, this existential short dramedy possesses a deadpan, dry sense of humor about life's absurdities and the foibles of human nature. But Josef's cataloging of such absurdities also captures nothing less than the totality of life in all its ups and downs, provoking a profound relatability despite the specific quirks of Josef and his life.

The structure of the film functions at first like a series of snapshots. Through an often static wide shot, scenes from Josef's life play out. A birthday celebration with his sweet mother, the father tucked away in the background; graduation; a fight between his parents as he overhears; New Year's parties at two different times in Josef's life.

In addition to the visual unity between how each scene is shot, certain motifs -- like a toy, the sound of fireworks or kissing his partner and lover -- connect one scene to another. The scenes are not laid out in chronological order, but rather they free-associate like a dream, connected more by sensation or emotion than straightforward progression.

At first, they seem like a jumble, but as the relationships and characters we see onscreen develop, we begin to make connections between them. We see the connections between past and present, mother and wife, father and self. We see how the different griefs of Josef's life are both similar and different. And as the moments add up, Josef beholds the totality of his life, just as the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

The storytelling in "Thank You for Patiently Waiting" is like a beautiful mosaic, capturing the highs and lows of one man's life. And through the storytelling's breathtaking range of feeling and the juxtaposition of affectionate absurdity and raw emotion, we get nothing less than the fullness of human existence. Like most people's lives, there is joy in this man's life, and there is also profound sadness and loss. Seeing both one after another makes us see the almost painful beauty of it all, hopefully before it is too late.

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