7.3/10
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50 user 108 critic

Silent Light (2007)

Stellet Licht (original title)
In a Mennonite community in Mexico, a father's faith is tested when he falls in love with a new woman.

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30 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Cornelio Wall ...
Miriam Toews ...
Maria Pankratz ...
Peter Wall ...
Jacobo Klassen ...
Elizabeth Fehr ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacques Brel ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Johan (Cornelio Wall Fehr), a Mennonite living in Mexico, is tormented with guilt over his extramarital affair with Marianne (Maria Pankratz). His father (Peter Wall), best friend (Jacobo Klassen) and wife (Miriam Toews) know the truth, but Johan's suffering has to do with his faith, which he can't reconcile with his deeds. Written by dfwforeignbuff

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

12 October 2007 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Silent Light  »

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Budget:

€980,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

This is a movie filmed in Plautdietsch, a dialect spoken by the Russian Mennonites. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slow and slightly bewildering, but visually superb.
13 January 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The six-minute opening shot of Silent Light depicts the starry night sky giving way, slowly but relentlessly, to the nascent light of the early morning sun. This shot could in itself serve as a captivating short film but in its particular context it serves most obviously to set the overall pace for this film by the Mexican director Carlos Reygadas: slow.

The cast of Silent Light consists primarily of non-actors drawn from the Menonite religious community in which the film is set. Their fine performances create a believable and frequently captivating world for the viewer. We are given insights into the day-to-day lives of the family as the story slowly develops in stages, grimly charting the inexorable demise of the relationship between husband Johan and wife Esther.

Around the stark central narrative there are some charming scenes and some superb camera work. Even the scenes where the children playing in the pond are all-too-aware of the presence of the camera carry a certain fascination. Having said that there are too many shots where the camera lingers to seemingly little effect, except to make the viewer feel distinctly uncomfortable (as one other reviewer has pointed out, there is something rather unnerving about the kissing scene involving Johan and Marianne).

I also feel compelled to add that there is a rather bizarre twist at the end of what would otherwise be a straightforward and powerful story. For me this threw into some confusion the preceding two hours of film and left the story hanging on an oddly unsatisfactory note. Despite the slow pacing and somewhat bewildering ending this is a strong, distinctive piece of film-making and I would recommend that it be viewed in a cinema rather than on the small screen so as to get the best of some superb camera-work.


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