Jenseits der Stille
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Synopsis for
Beyond Silence (1996) More at IMDbPro »Jenseits der Stille (original title)

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Jenseits der Stille is film about a musically talented girl growing up in a house with deaf parents, and the struggles that ensue from that as she matures. The main character, Lara, has many responsibilities as the only one who can hear in her house. Her mother and father constantly depend on her to assist them with everyday things such as bank meetings and answering the phone. Thus, she falls behind with her schoolwork. Her father detests music, because of a bad childhood experience with his clarinetist sister, Clarissa. Clarissa acts as the antagonist when she encourages Laras musical talent. Laras dreams of perusing the clarinet herself and moving away cause tension with her father, Martin. Despite the fact Martin and Kai have had another child who can assist them, they have always counted on Lara. Lara moves to Berlin, in attempts to enter a conservatory. While there she falls in love and her mother dies, leaving her father devastated. In the midst of sadness, love, and family quarrels, Lara struggles to find who she really is. The film begins under a block of ice in which a child and a grown woman are ice-skating on top of. The woman is skating in front of the young girl and is performing all sorts of turns. The young girl is hardly moving and is learning how to ice-skate. The woman turns and falls on the ice and the young girl works her way towards the woman to help her. They both laugh and the woman throws her hat into the air and suddenly the film cuts to the same little girl alone in be, and is really scared by the thunder and lightning. The little girl is scared so she goes to her parents room. Once in the room she communicates to her father in sign language that there is thunder and lightning and it is keeping her up. The father signals for her to get in bed with them. The next scene takes place at the breakfast table and the little girl is getting ready for school and the phone rings. It is her grandmother asking if they will come for Christmas. The girls parents signal her in sign language that they will. Lara and her father leave the house. It has just snowed and it is very cold. As they walk through the town Lara says hello to everyone. Walk to the fathers office and print a poster that Lara needs for school. As she is walking out everyone says hello. One man ask Lara if she told her father that there would be no Christmas bonuses this year and she said if it is bad news to tell him yourself. The next scene take place at Laras school in the classroom. Lara is reciting her homework very slowly. The teacher stops her and asks if she has been practicing at home, and a student named Uli makes a joke about her probably reading it to her deaf father. Everyone laughs, the teacher gets up and tells Lara that if she does not do her homework she will have to stay after school. Uli takes up the rest of the reading and Lara just smile and looks outside where it has just begun to snow. As Lara is day dreaming out the window we see her mother trying to get her attention. Lara suddenly realizes and sees that her mother is asking how much long she will be there because she needs to go to the bank. Lara signals her that they are practicing reading. Her mother says study hard and that she is proud of her. Lara has a worried look on her face. When Lara turns her mother is still out there telling her that she will wait. The teach asks an other student what is wrong because he is distracted. The other student tells the teacher that Laras mother is outside the window. The teacher says what? Again? The next scene Lara and her mother are walking in the snow and Lara tells her that this is the last time. Laras mother tells her that life is the best teacher not school, and Lara laughs and says, Tell that to my teacher. Lara and her parents are at the bank with the banker. Lara is translating everything both sides say. The father is getting upset because he needs money and Lara is not translating everything he says. The father asks if there is any money that they could receive from the accident. Lara never translates that and tells her father that the man said no. Then she tells him to stop begging. She tells the man thank you and they all stand up. The banker is going to shake Laras hand but she says that her parents are the customers not her. Then he offers her candy and she gets a frustrated look. Lara is at home with her parents later that evening. Her father is trying to fix the antenna on an old radio and Lara is practicing her reading. He asks her if she hears anything. She doesnt. Suddenly we hear a faint sound of music and she tells him. The father eventually looks over at Lara again and she fell asleep with her book. We see a green car drive up the snowy driveway of a large house. It is Lara and her parents. Lara runs out calling her grandma. Her parents stay in the car for a second and kiss and tell each other merry Christmas. Lara her mother and her grandmother are in the kitchen preparing food. Lara is sitting at the window speaking with them. Lara and her mother are speaking to each other, and her grandma tells Lara that she is lucky that she can speak with them. Family begins to arrive at the house. It is Laras aunt Clarissa and uncle Gregor. The grandmother tells them how nice it is to have them there. Gregor jokes around and says that he only came for the goose. They all laugh and exchange hugs. The grandfather comes in and says to Clarrisa, Why are you so late? She turns around and says merry Christmas. She says hi to Laras father Martin. At that moment there is a bit of silence when suddenly Laras uncle Gregor comes bursting in from the other side of the room. He has put on a beard and another green coat and has a sack and a staff. He comes in and gives Clarissa a big kiss and asks (Jokingly) Where are all the children? Lara runs out from hiding and says that he is not Santa Clause. Uncle Gregor says if you say that then you dont get any presents. He dumps the sac upside down and all the wrapped gifts fall out. Lara is so excited. Laras parents are standing in the corner watching Lara when Martins father comes over and hands him an envelope. He wont accept it at first but then the father in law says take it I know you need it. Lara received a new book and her grandmother just called her to help set the table. As Lara sets the table her grandfather and Clarissa begin to play music and Lara enjoys it. The father is waiting for Lara, because they were going to read the book but Lara is focused on the music. Martin asks if they are going to read the book and Lara says wait until Clarissa is finished playing the music. Martin is angry because Lara did not sign him she just spoke to him. He just watches Lara as she watches Clarissa. Martin begins to remember back to his childhood and sees himself watching Clarissa playing the Clarinet at a family function. Then he snaps out of it. Lara is in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother putting away the dishes. The grandmother asks Laras mother if they are going to stay the night because the weather is bad. She says no. Clarissa gives Lara a gift. It is her first Clarinet. Lara is very excited, her mother walks in and signals to Lara that it is time to go. Clarissa tells Lara to ask her mother if she could stay the night and she would drive her home in the morning. Lara, Clarissa, and Gregor are riding on bikes singing. They are riding on ice in the area where the movie began with Lara skating with Clarissa. Lara and Clarissa are back in the house in one of the rooms. They are in front of a mirror. Clarissa is putting make-up on Lara. She tells Lara that her hair was really short when she was her age. Clarissa asks if Lara wants her to cut her hair, Lara says no. Clarissa pulls out an old photo of all of her family when they were children. Lara tells Clarissa that she did not like her father. Clarissa says that is a lie. When they were young they were very close. However as they got older Martin became more stubborn. She tells Lara that they made up their own sign language to speak but the doctors said that is what kept him from learning to speak. Lara is sitting in the back of the car crying. She is holding her things along with the picture of her father. Lara walks into the house and flickers the lights to let her father know that she is home. He asks her what happened because he said to be there in the afternoon and it was now nighttime. She showed him her hair that Clarissa cut. The father said why are you crying now you look like her isnt that what you wanted? They start playing around and hug. Laras mother comes into Laras room and turns off the radio. Lara is laying in bed with her new clarinet and asks why she cant ride a bike. The mother says that because of her ears she has a bad sense of balance. Lara asks her mother to learn how to ride a bike. The mother tells her she promises she will once the baby is born. We now learn that the mother is pregnant. Lara kisses her mothers stomach and tells the baby she will play her a song on her clarinet when he is born. There are a bunch of children playing musical instruments. There is also a teach trying to instruct them. They are not very good but they are practicing. Lara walks in and tells Mr. Gartner that she was sent down there. She says she plays the clarinet, and Mr. Gartner asks if she reads notes. The same kid from before yells out that she cannot even read a book. The teacher tells him that all things take time. He signals to Lara to come forward. Mr. Gartner is sitting at the piano alone in the room with Lara. He is teaching her how to play the clarinet. Lara is at home practicing the clarinet in front of her father. He asks her if she finished her homework. She says yes and he checks and sees that she has not done her homework. He gets mad and Lara tells him that the music is more important. Martin tells her to do her homework and it is more important. Lara says he does not know what is important because he is deaf. Martin slaps her and she says he and mother never cared about her homework before, they just dont want her playing the clarinet. Lara runs out leaving the father alone and feeling bad. The mother and father are laying in bed under the covers and having a discussion. Martin feels that he is losing Lara. The mother says because he wont accept her for what she is. Lara can hear and they are deaf. We see their car driving along the river into town. They pull into a church and everyone knows sign language. It is a church for the deaf. As the entire church is singing with their hands Lara hears her mother gasp in the back of the church. Lara is sitting up front with all of the other children. She runs to the back and sees that her mothers water just broke. Lara is sitting at the window in the hospital just waiting. The father comes out and tells her that it will be a while. Lara says she doesnt mind staying until the baby comes. They stare out the window and the father asks if the flags waving in the wind make noise. Lara says they sound like bells. As they sit there, there is a little boy who keeps staring at them. Lara yells boo, and the boy gets scared. Lara asks if her father was happy when his sister Clarissa was born. He says he was at first but then it changed. He went on saying that she gave a concert to very important people when she was about 10 or 12 years old. She practice a really long time. During the concert he started to laugh and they dragged him out of the room and locked him in his room. From the point on she never played when he was in the room, and for every concert he had to be in his room. The bell rings for class to let out and Mr. Gartner asks Lara to stay. He hands her a piece of difficult music and says it will be her first time with triplets. She must count. Lara is playing with her new sister Marie when her mother comes in and puts her to sleep. The mother tells her that the baby is tired and needs to rest. Before she leaves she tells Lara not to bother her. After she leaves Lara begins to talk to Marie again. Marie does not respond so Lara grabs the clarinet and plays it in Maries ear and she begins to cry. Lara is happy because she just figured out that Marie can hear. Lara is translating a sop opera for her mother. It is a love story and they both laugh. It is the morning and Laras father says that they are going on a bike ride. Lara is happy because her mother is going to learn how to ride. She learns how in an open area in the country. Lara is back at school practicing the clarinet with the rest of the students. They are dismissed. Laras parents are meeting with her teacher and Lara is translating. The teacher is telling them that Lara is going to fail if she does not improve her reading. Lara is telling her parents that her reading is improving. The teacher also says that she cannot be dismissing Lara early anymore. Mr. Gartner walks in and is very happy to see Laras parents. He tells them that she is great and he saved them two seats in the front row for their concert that they will have. Lara tells her parents the he says it is a shame that they wont allow her to play the clarinet. Lara is sitting at home with the clarinet telling her dad how to play, but he cannot hear her. Her dad asks if she finished her homework and she tells him that she did it on the bus. Lara asks her dad if he is going to the concert tomorrow. He says he needs to stay and take care of the baby. Lara is in her room trying on a dress in front of the mirror. She looks up and stares at the picture that Clarissa gave her. It is the night of the play and all of the children are on stage. They are reciting their lines and Lara looks in front to see two empty chairs in the front row next to the teacher. The audience claps and Mr. Gartner comes and tells Lara it is her turn and she will do well. Lara begins to play and does very well. As we hear the song time moves on and it is an older Lara playing. Her aunt Clarissa comes in through the back to watch her play. When she finishes everyone stands up and applauds. Lara is sitting at a table with Clarissa. Clarisssa tells Lara to go to the best school in the world. Lara hesitates because she feels that it is too expensive. Clarissa offers to house her for the summer and they would practice all summer long and go to concerts. Then she says that she cant take care of her parents forever. Lara comes home and her parents are kissing. Lara flashes the lights to let them know she is home. Her mother asks her to help her make some calls. Lara says cant Marie do it. Lara pauses and says that she will be right there. Her father asks where she was, and Lara says that she was having a drink with some friends. The father tells her that she should bring them around some time. Lara is about to leave but stands at the door. The father comes over and starts talking with her about how beautiful the night is. He asks her what snow sounds like. Lara tells him that Clarissa was at school and that it is going to be her birthday. The father turns around and walks away. Lara says that grandpa wants to take them out for dinner, and begs her father to go. Lara is in her room studying when and older Marie runs in with her friend Bettina. They want to use her clarinet because they are bored. Marie is screaming for her mother to help her but she does not hear. Bettina does not believe her parents are deaf. They are testing her. Lara walks in and thinks Marie is hurt. Marie explains and Lara gets mad and their mother walks in and says whats wrong. Lara tells her what they are doing and she laughs and says when she was younger she would make things up to. All of the family has gathered for dinner at their grandparents house for Clarissas birthday. The grandfather is making fun of Clarissa because she does not work. He says she is living off of her husbands money. Gregor says that she will be busy enough when Lara comes to stay with them. There is a pause for a moment and Lara quickly tells Marie not to translate that. Lara had not told anybody yet. Her grandmother asks if there is a closer school then the one over in berlin. They tell her parents and Martin is becoming upset. Clarissa says that they will pay for it. Martin says that it is none of her business. Then Clarissa says that Lara has a lot of talent and should not be handicapped just because her parents are. Martin stands up and yells that Lara is his daughter and throws a glass of wine at Clarissa. Their grandparents get mad a Clarissa. Clarissa says he throws wine in my face and you blame me? Lara and her father are out side. Lara begins to explain to her father. He begins to walk away. She tells him that she has not even applied yet. Then Lara asks if they would be alright if she left. Martin says that she treats him like a baby, that she is 18 and free to leave when ever she wants. Then Lara wants to know if that is the case why is he so upset. He says because he ruined another evening for his parents. He drives off, leaving Lara in the middle of the street. Lara is in her room packing and talking with Marie. Marie tells her that she is mena for leaving because now she has to translate all of her mothers movies. Their mother comes in and tells Marie to go do her homework. She begins to help Lara pack. She begins to tell Lara that when she was small she believed that she would be able to sing when she grew up. Then she hands her two pieces of paper, they are tickets to a clarinet concert that she knew Lara read about in the paper. We see a white train with a red stripe on the side speeding down the tracks. We see Gregor pick up Lara at the station he says that Clarissa is sick. We see Lara and Clarissa walking into a bar where Clarissa introduces her. Clarissa kisses a man that she know and proceeds to go on stage and prepare to play. She calls for Lara to come up, they both start to play on stage. Lara makes a mistake but laughs it off. We see shots of Lara and Clarissa diving all over town taking pictures and then go back to the bar. They finish playing and get applauded. Clarissa and Lara ride their bikes down an empty road. They arrive at a lake that reminds them of back home. Clarissa takes off her clothes and goes for a swim. Lara is worried that someone might come and see her. We hear the clarinet playing but see Gregor typing in his study. The camera moves down the hall and we see Clarissa sitting on the couch watching Lara play. Lara finishes and asks what Clarissa thinks. Clarissa looks like she is in a trance and snaps out of it. She tells Lara that she hates that kind of music because it ruins her day. She says she will find her other music to play. Lara says she loves that kind of music and is getting up set. Clarissa tells her that she will not be accepted to the school with music like that. Lara begins to tell her about the great composers and Clarissa cuts her off and says believe me or try it alone. Then Gregor walks in and gives a look at Clarissa and leaves. Lara is walking down the street by herself and eating an apple and holding some papers. She looks up and sees Gregor and Clarissa across the street fighting. Gregor gets into the car and takes off. Lara turns around and walks away. Lara walks to a street market and sees a man speaking sign language with a little girl. She follows them to a toy store. There the man sees her and she signs him. Funny being starred at right, Ive been watching you. She walks into the store. She walks in and introduces herself and finds out that he is not deaf. The little girls name is Johanna and the mans name is Tom. They are at the park and just got ice cream. Tom tells Lara that his father is deaf and raised him and now he is a teacher at a school for the deaf. They are walking through a big park and are crossing a little water fall. Tom tells Lara that he is leaving to go study. He says that Americans recognize sign language as an actual language and the deaf can study any subject. Lara says that it is 6:30 and she has to go. Tom tells her that she can visit him at the school. Lara is lying in bed and seems to have a bad dream. Lara is walking down the hallway of the school for the deaf, there are many children signing in the hallway. Lara enters a room were the children are slapping the floor with their hands. Tom stands up and introduces her to the students. He tells her to lye down on the floor on her stomach. All of the children begin to lye on their stomachs. Tom begins to play music and the children are feeling the rhythm on the floor. Once they have the rhythm they get up and dance. Lara remains on the floor smiling, Tom joins her and asks her to the movies. She agrees. Lara walks into the kitchen, all of the lights are off and she grabs something to drink. She sees a note from Clarissa that says she is at the lake, to came and join. Clarissa and Lara are at the lake at night. There is a fire going and they are both talking and sharing a cigarette. Lara asks where Gregor went, Clarissa told her he is looking for an apartment. Clarissa begins to tell Lara that she did everything wrong. She says that Laras father has a family and that she has nothing. Lara tells her that is not true. She has a lot and Lara has always wanted to be like her. Clarissa begins to cry on Lara, and she comforts her. Tom and Lara get out of the movies. Toms asks if she liked the movie she said she does not like love stories, they make her sad. Tom tells her to stop feeling bad for herself. Lara jumps on his back and motions for him to go like a horse. Lara is still on Toms back and they are walking down a dark street in front of a wall covered in graffiti. He puts her down and she runs forward making her shadow look a lot smaller than him. They play around with their shadows making him look like a giant that is controlling her like a puppet. Lara takes off running saying that she wants a schnitzel. They arrive at a man with a stand who is making schnitzels and has a radio playing music. Then Gloria Gaynors song, I will survive came on the radio. Tom begins to sign it and sing it. They dance to the song and then grab their schnitzel and leave running. Lara comes home to Clarissas apartment and finds Gregor there. He walks towards her and stops. He tells her to come closer and grabs her and hugs her. Then he slowly says that her mother had an accident on her bike yesterday and died. Lara begins to cry Gregor holds her, and Lara is about to fall to the ground and Gregor holds her tight as she cries. The camera comes into the room of Martin where he Lara, and Marie are lying in bed together. Martin has one daughter in each arm and no one is moving. Lara is taking clothes out of her mothers closet. And smelling them and crying. Lara is sitting at the window watching the sun come up and her father comes and asks what she hears. Lara tells him that there is no sound, and she runs off. Lara is holding her stuffed animal, and her father says that she should not have been riding a bike. She had a problem with her balance. Lara asks angrily if he is saying it is her fault, and he does not reply he just walks away. Lara, her father and Marie are eating breakfast. Lara turns on the radio and Martin tells her to turn it off. He says that he does not want any music in his house. Lara stands up and walks away, Marie turns off the radio. Lara is putting make-up on in the bathroom. Marie is sitting on the toilet watching. Lara is telling her that she will be home late around 11. That is if the bus is on time. Marie does not want her to go. Lara plans to go to the concert that her mother bought her tickets for. Marie wants to go but Lara says someone must stay with dad to put him to bed. Marie says he can do it himself. Marie gets into the bathtub. Lara arrives at the concert early and speaks with a man in English about music. The concert begins and the man whom she spoke with is playing the clarinet. He comes from the back of the crowd playing and walks to the stage. The band begins to play with him. Lara begins to remember when her mother was learning how to ride a bike. There is a projector in the background of the musicians. Lara walks to her house and finds Tom waiting for her in her front yard. Lara is really excited after seeing that concert. She really wants to get into the school, and asks Tom if he thinks shes good enough. He has never heard her play so they go into the house and she plays for him. She plays for him a piece that she just made up. She did not turn on any lights because it is all in her head. Her father and sister are asleep. She plays for Tom. As we hear the music she takes off Toms shirt and begins to kiss him. They begin to make love. Lara and Tom are asleep in the living room naked and Martin walks in and sees them. Lara and Tom are talking outside. Lara wants to stay at Toms apartment to study for the exam. She wants to leave but Tom has rented the apartment to a friend. Tom is leaving to school, and Lara does not want him to go. She is tired of always saying good-bye. Lara enters her house her father and sister are eating breakfast. Martin asks what time she got home. They get in an argument because she brought home a man and slept with him in the living room. Lara tells him that she does not want to be here anymore. She cannot stand him or his looks or the way he reads his newspaper. He stands up grabs her and throws her out of the kitchen. Lara gets off of the train and walks with her luggage. Lara knocks on her aunts door and the man that she kissed earlier answers. He has moved in. Clarissa tells Lara that she is glad she stayed and her father was just holding her back. Lara tells Clarissa that she is not fare because she never tried to understand Martin. Lara tells Clarissa that the only reason she doesnt like her music is because she wants Lara to be good but not better than her. She gets up and walks away. Lara is sitting at a caf and atarring out the window when Gregor walks by and knocks on the window. They are in Gregors new apartment and he tells Lara where she can sleep. He tells her that she can practice whenever she needs to. Lara asks if he regrets moving out and he tells her no but one day he might. Lara then asked why he left and he said because she doesnt need me. Gregor is typing and Lara is lying on the floor listening to music. As the music keeps playing we now see Lara playing that song. As the music continues we see several shots of Lara practicing. Lara gets a call, it is from Marie, she is somewhere in Berlin. Marie came to visit Lara. She left a note for her dad that said she was going to a party after school. They are at a restaurant eating and Lara is asking Marie what her father says about her. Marie tells Lara that she does not have a return ticket and that she does not have enough money Gregory is on the phone with Clarissa and tells her that there is a problem. Clarissa comes to pick up Marie. Gregor asks how she is and she does not respond. Lara is in the bathtub making sings. She is repeating, other fathers are proud of their daughters when they are successful. Clarissa and Marie arrive at Martins house. Marie does not want to go in because her father will be mad. Lara goes inside Martin is at the window. Martin and clarissa begin to speak to each other through sign language. He asks how Lara is and why she didnt come. Clarissa tells him she does not have the time right now. They say good-bye. Marie wants to know why he didnt go to see Lara. He tells her if she ever runs away again he will spank her. Lara is in bed and her alarm goes off. Lara is standing outside the school and walks in. Lara walks into the building and sees many students waiting in the hall. See walks up to a table and they ask what instrument. She says Clarinet. She signs in and waits Lara hands the pianist her music and proceeds to answer questions. The interviewers ask her why she chose traditional Idezmer music as her choice of interest. She says because she can relate to it. As she prepares to play she looks up and sees her father walk into the rooms. She pauses and the interviewers want to know what is wrong with her. Martin tells her that he just wants to wish her luck and watch. She begins to play. Her father watches her intently. When she finishes she puts down her clarinet and looks at her dad. He says he cant hear but he will try to understand her music. Then he asks her if he has lost her. Lara smiles and says that she has loved him since the day he was born and he will never lose her. The father turns and walks to the door. He opens it and looks at her. Lara smiles and says thank you for coming.
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