A painter from the big city goes to a remote canyon to commit suicide. To reach some calmness, he stays at the farmstead of Ascen, an old, religious woman. Although but a few words are spoken, love grows.
Sokol and Lorna, two Albanian emigrants in Belgium, dream of leaving their dreary jobs to set up a snack bar. They need money, and a permanent resident status. Claudy is a junkie - he needs... See full summary »
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
Mexico's official submission for the 80th Academy Awards, and the first film from that country that is not in Spanish. Under AMPAS's new rules for Best Foreign-Language Film, it is eligible for a nomination. See more »
The sights and sounds, the seriousness these Mennonites take their love and death, is all moving
Silent Light (2007)
I don't think you should pre-judge this film by director Carlos Reygadas's known style--lots of long, matter of fact takes, and mostly amateur actors. This is a Mexican film, and some Spanish language appears, but most of it is in a Mennonite dialect, a kind of country German carried over by Russian immigrants. Seeing these simple people from the inside is a large part of the interest here, even though it's not a documentary. Reygadas makes it a point to get the pace of their lives, which is apparently very slow!
It's odd to see such deliberate photography in the mold of Ozu, with the still camera and the offscreen activity now and then, and to realize how difficult it is to pull that off. Only because it doesn't quite work here. It becomes an affectation, even so that the curvature of the widescreen (and anamorphic, I think) photography becomes a distraction. The approach, however, makes for a very quiet movie, viscerally, and because of that it penetrates the characters and gets to some moving issues.
It's a deeply felt story, for sure, and that was enough to make me want to watch it. But there were times when I felt like I was sitting it out through conviction. It almost forced you to feel sad, and to share the loneliness of these country folk who struggle on their farms not to survive, but to understand love and meaning. Heavy stuff, and laid out with amazing seriousness. And also shown in clear, appreciative views.
You will get the feeling sometimes that there ought to be someone out in this forlorn landscape who is happy, and who has some sense of quick wit. But apparently not! It's a despondent experience, and that actually is what I liked about it. But I'm not sure it is enough, this drawn out sadness alone, with lots of ambient droning sounds (very vivid) overwhelms the apparent "plot" of a love that isn't appropriate.
Is it good? I think some people will totally love it. I'd recommend it for those who want to really lose themselves in another world, in realistic and un adorned terms, a world that is unspectacular on the surface, and very probing and beautiful within.
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