For me, the Chicago International Film Festival doesn’t start with the Thursday night gala that officially kicks off the fest but with the first show on Friday afternoon. The movie tends to be one of the less heavily promoted of the fest, lacking the trail of reviews that accompanies the bigger titles. A spectator goes into it not knowing what to expect; all he can hope for is that it rewards his curiosity.
This year that movie was The Delay, a domestic drama from Uruguay. I can’t say I went into it totally free of expectations. I’ve enjoyed most of the Uruguayan films I’ve seen in recent years (Whisky, A Useful Life, Gigante, and Norberto’s Deadline are the first examples that come to mind) and regard that nation’s cinema as one of the most reliably interesting in the world. The current generation of Uruguayan filmmakers possess a strong grasp on character quirks, everyday disappointment, and the challenges of holding down a job—in other words, the nuts and bolts of living that most movies overlook. On the basis of The Delay (which screens again tonight at 8:15 PM and tomorrow at 12:30 PM), director Rodrigo Plá seems another worthy member of this group.