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Echoes of Silence (1965)

Not Rated | | Drama | 14 June 1969 (Denmark)
Peter Emmanuel Goldman's rarely screened debut, an underappreciated landmark of the New American Cinema, chronicles the lives of twenty-somethings adrift in New York City, finding ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Miguel Chacour ... Miguel
Viraj Amonsin ... Viraj
Blanche Zelinka ... Blanche
Stasia Gelber ... Stasia
Jean-François Gobbi ... Robert
Jacquetta Lampson ... Jacquetta
Astrid Spiegel ... Astrid
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bill Brach
Ellen Marcus
John Pope
Irwin Shapiro
Maria Van Everett
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Storyline

Peter Emmanuel Goldman's rarely screened debut, an underappreciated landmark of the New American Cinema, chronicles the lives of twenty-somethings adrift in New York City, finding tremendous pathos in the smallest moments: a furtive glance across a museum gallery, girls putting on makeup, a stroll beneath the pulsing lights of Times Square marquees. Composed with a lo-fi purity and bereft of diegetic sound, its shadowy images of youthful flaneurs are paired with evocatively hand-painted title cards and a dynamic soundtrack drawn from the artist's LPs that, when combined, conjure up a ballad of dependency like none other.

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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14 June 1969 (Denmark)  »

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References What a Way to Go! (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

This must have influenced Scorsese...
23 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

Although I saw this film at the London Film Festival in 1966 (I think or maybe 1967) it has stayed with me in a way that few films have.

Goldman, as I understand it, also worked as a lecturer in the NYU course that Scorsese studied in the 1960s. Though this film is after Scorsese's time at NYU, I find it unlikely that he would not have seen it during his time making short films (The Big Shave etc).

Having just seen Means Streets again in a cinema, Echoes of Silence came flooding back to me. 'Who's That Knocking at My Door' is even closer to this work.

The point of similarity is one of physical and emotional immediacy. Though Goldman was only operating in the 'underground' film-making scene, the film has a much more professional attitude to narrative structure than most of the work emanating from that 'group'. Fleeting images with grainy black and white texture are the perfect style to expose the lives of the individuals from the underbelly of society that the film 'celebrates'.

Thematically, it has a remarkable resonance with 'Last Exit to Brooklyn'. I have no idea if Goldman was in the same circle as Hubert Selby Jr, but his work certainly is called to mind as Goldman's poor, emotionally empty characters scratch out their 'silent' existence.

I am really interested in films that eschew dialogue. Though it is more than possible Goldman just couldn't afford the additional cost of synchronous sound, his images and narrative are perfectly matched by the cool jazz soundtrack, with just a few explanatory intertitles...

This is a major work and it is tragic that is isn't widely available.

*********** I have recently been closely examining John Cassavetes SHADOWS and it could be that the similarity between this film and early Scorsese could be in their joint debt to that film.


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