The Silence (1998) Poster


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such an invigorating Beethoven denouement.
elsinefilo18 March 2006
"The Silence" is not an ordinary movie even though it looks simple. It is the story of a blind boy Hursit who is trying to make both his and mother's living by tuning instruments in local traditional instrument shop.His father has apparently left his family to Russia and Hursit and the mother is having a hard time because they can't pay the rent and they are faced with the dancer of being thrown to the street. The movie uses Beethoven's 5th Symphony in the final scene. The scenery of bazaars,the local imagery of an Eastern town,the local instrument builders and vendors add so much to the atmosphere to the movie. And a little note for those who have just recognized the Iranian movie..Before the Islamic revolution in Iran, the director of the movie was a political activist and because of that he was jailed for more than 4 years, and was let out of jail only after the revolution. After the revolution he abandoned politics, because he had believed that the chief problem in Iran was the cultural one. The movie was also banned in Iran.If you like simple real stories about real life I suggest you see the movie.
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Sokout is a silence of TAJIK people
Gravitino21 October 2006
A little blind Tajik boy each day comes late to his job. The reason is his joy of life: The voice of around. He likes to listen to the music of nature, he likes to be as other people to see it. Unfortunately it costs high in his life. He loses his job, just because he loves music. The owner of the house where boy and his mother live tell them to free the apartment and they remain without anything. But boy continues to enjoy the life... The movie makes hearts ache. The song which I liked in this movie so much was "Charo hargiz namepursi?" (Why you never ask?) of Daler Nazarov which performed very well by Oleg Fezov. I recommend this movie to watch for all those who love the life!
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Makhmalbaf leaves his native Iran to shoot in Tajikistan, creating a film with a lot of exotic local colour and a much more subtle metaphor for spiritual seeking
crculver22 April 2017
The director Mohsen Makhmalbaf made a number of acclaimed films in his native Iran over the Eighties and Nineties, but with the 1998 effort SOKOUT ("Silence") he moved farther afield for his shooting location: Tajikistan, where the locals speak a Persian dialect mostly intelligible to Iranians, but the culture is an exotic mix of Central Asian and Soviet traditions.

Khorshid (Tahmineh Normatova), a blind boy aged around 10, is employed in the workshop of an instrument maker, tuning the instruments. His mother (Goibibi Ziadolahyeva), abandoned by her husband, urges him to work hard, for their landlord is demanding the rent and threatening eviction. Unfortunately, Khorshid is particularly prone to arriving late at work because he is easily distracted from his commute by the sound of music coming from the radio or street musicians. Nadereh (Nadereh Abdelahyeva), the adopted daughter of the instrument maker, tries to keep Khorshid out of trouble. This is a mystical film, by which Khorshid's desire to follow the beauty of music above all else serves as a metaphor for the renunciant's search for God.

However, that mystical point is made quite subtly, and I suspect most audiences outside the region won't pick up on it. What will strike most foreign viewers is the beautiful imagery and soundtrack. Filming outside Iran in a country with less strict dress codes, Makhmalbaf's camera focuses heavily on female faces and the colourful floral prints of Dushabe's women. In Nadereh and another young cast member he captures that brief moment where girlhood gives way to womanhood. We hear a number of musical instruments from Central Asia, but besides the local folk music the dramatic opening of Beethoven's Fifth figures prominently, tying this exotic locale to a more universal ideal. Things are not entirely rosy, however. The innocence of the children is juxtaposed at a few points with the gritty reality of post-Soviet Tajikistan, now recovering from a bloody civil war and marked by poverty, child labour, and a reborn religious extremism.

The running time is short at 72 minutes, which might disappoint some. Also, Makhmalbaf chose non-professionals to play the roles, and their lines are often delivered somewhat woodenly. However, such wooden dialog may have been desirable to the director, as that slow speech makes the film easier for his native Iranian audience to understand. Still, while not a major masterpiece, this is a visually and musically attractive film and worth watching for anyone wanting a slice of Central Asian drama (or at least one Iranian director's vision of it).
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A Jewel
carol-16024 April 2005
Subtitled in English, this story of a 10-year old blind boy's experiences is visually and aurally intertwined. Filled with striking scenes and hypnotic music, the production is unique and riveting. The camera wanders through the bazaars and shops of Tajikistan providing a glimpse into a culture not well known to Westerners. The interplay between the boy and the beautiful young woman who acts as his eyes is touching, filled with humor, and played with a simple elegance. The distractions encountered by the boy on his way from home to work are a delight. Supporting roles are well played. The harmonies of the music, the city, and everyday life produce a funny and profound film well worth watching.
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A beautiful film -- with a little help from Beethoven!
naxash26 August 1999
The boy Khorshid has to earn a living tuning instruments. He's blind. He does an excellent job, but his boss doesn't think so. Khorshid's mother won't be able to pay the rent if her son gets fired. What can be done? This film both shows the hard life of a blind boy and his mother in Azerbaijan as well as beautiful images -- and lots of music, of course! if you wanna hear Beethoven's 5th, recently spiced up inna hip hop stylee by A+, in a Oriental style, then you gotta check out this beautiful film by Iran's leading filmmaker Mohsen Mahmalbaf. Additionally, _Sokhout_ is social commentary both on life in Eastern countries as well as the relationship between East and is not a coincidence that Makhmalbaf chose Beethoven instead of Classical Persian music.
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Beyond movie, this is poetry, art, beauty.
FrankDeford28 October 2001
This is simply the most beautiful movie I've ever seen. It revitalized all my senses. It helps to have some information about the cultural background of the movie. The fact that it takes place in Tajikistan an X-soviet republic, of Iranian ethnicity and Persian language etc.
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jlbuu14 June 2020
This is the most powerful movie I have seen.

A young boy named Khorshid is blind but has a strong listening ability, by sound he can hear and see the world, he has specially love for Beethoven. But his love for music distracts him from work.

The director Mohsen Makhmalbaf is brilliant with his work of art. As a visionary he bring the audience to a new world.
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Silence speak more than thousands of words
euroasiangenetic7 August 2019
Because of his special gift in identifying objects by the sounds they make, a blind young boy is employed as a string instrument tuner in a small village in Tajikistan.

He may be blind but that does not mean he cannot see.

On his way to work, he could tell the quality of the bread the young girls along the streets are peddling by simply touching their ware.

His world is made more colorful and quaint because of his sensitivity to his surroundings.

The only problem is that he is easily "tempted" by street musicians' performances and arrives late at work.

A breathtaking visually indulging by the Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
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A lyrical Odyssey
pauliecorleone-7262823 August 2017
Like a young Odysseus, little Khorshid travels life's journey in search for his musical Ithaca, wandering into adventures involving modern-age Sirens lurking in every corner, a 'faithful Penelope's' principle in the heart of his despondent mother, a coming of age Calypso falling in love with his unique outlook - and even a Cyclops figure, a grieving ogre to be defeated out of his strictly one-dimensional view.

For the film's short running time, our sprite of a protagonist follows lyrical beauty amidst the darkness -- and has me doing exactly the same by following him, completely and utterly charmed by his antithetically stunning in colour, deeply multilayered, poetic innocence.
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Beautiful, poetic film set in Tajikistan
Andy-29628 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film when it was released, more than a decade ago, and I haven't seen it since. So I don't recall all the details. Directed by the famous Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the movie is set in the little known republic of Tajikistan. A former Soviet republic in Central Asia, Tajikistan became independent in 1991 and suffered greatly from poverty and civil war in the first years of independence (in one moving scene in the film, an elderly Russian resident of Tajikistan laments, to the point of almost crying, his economic troubles). The Tajiks are ethnically very close to the Iranians; some say that the Tajik language is just a dialect of Farsi. As shown in the film, Tajikistan seems almost frozen in time, while the movie is set in the late 1990s, a lot of the buildings and cars seem to belong to perhaps the 1950s or 1960s, the floor of most of the houses seems to be made of earth, and the factory where part of the action takes place has an abacus and an old telephone line, but not a computer (I hope that in the time since this film was made, Tajikistan has modernized a bit). The busy bazaars and narrow alleys add to the feeling of a strange place to a western viewer.

The protagonist is a blind 10 year old boy, who relates to the world through sounds (the first chords of Beethoven's fifth symphony are a motif throughout the film). Coming from a very poor family, he works in a dilapidated factory tuning the instruments made there (I suppose being blind makes him more able to concentrate on the sounds). A beautiful little girl, who wears tresses and dresses in traditional multicolored Tajik clothes, seems to be his only friend. There is not much else in the movie in terms of action, I suppose that to appreciate this film you just have to sit back and enjoy what you are seeing. The amazingly beautiful color photography certainly helps. It is a poetic movie, but in a good way, unlike in other art movies, this film never feels forced or pretentious.
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Pure cinematic beauty
Soufiane-R17 September 2019
What a beautiful, poetic, artistic masterpiece that blew my mind in the heart of the night with its greatness, and that Beethoven's touch it's a genius move from Makhmalbaf.
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The best work of Mohsen Makhmalbaf
JuguAbraham12 July 2020
Hearing music with a camera. The best Mohsen Makhmalbaf film yet for me. He is a director who can create magic with sound for a film. We glimpsed this in "Gabbeh", made 2 years earlier. Forget the narrative, it is the magical skill of combining music with innocently beautiful visuals here. A young blind tuner of musical instruments turns composer. The film is a tribute to Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony."

The attempt to bring in animal sounds into the music was accomplished well. The mural behind the kids at the bus stop is clearly indicative of the fact that the film was shot in Tajikistan and not in Iran
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A musical tribute to a legendary composer
ridi-arahan20 June 2020
What worked:
  • the theme of the movie; the general theme of the movie is appealing and strong. The movie helps gain more insight into a new society that I did not know much about. What works is the innocence that the blind character portrays in the movie
What did not know:
  • acting; the acting is not convincing and relatable. Maybe the movie has its cultural significance, it failed to impress as a world viewer
  • screenplay; although the overall concept is good, the movie does not carry that concept into a strong narrative
Final verdict: if you want to see something different, go for it
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what is it about
manu_m-9607621 September 2016
i watched it reading a review that described it a extraordinary film . the film is nicely made but i was disappointed after watching it that what it was all about actually .

plight of poor people .

or the genius boy .

very ordinary story line . it is just a situational story does not convey any message . the boy never mentioned his needs to his employer . like the name depicts one gets it after the completion of the movie . not worth watching . i have never watched any tajik movie before . if this is their style it need to be changed .
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