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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of world cinema, 1 Jun 2009
This review is from: Silent Light [DVD] (DVD)
This film acts like a purgation of the junk-fest sensation and cliché language and plots of our normal cinema.It takes us out of the real world and puts our senses through a sieve through a habit of perfection,distilling an uncreated light. There is a movement in world cinema to utilise non-professional actors and natural light together.The opening (and closing) shots open us up to a slow action shot almost in real time from constellations in a black sky to dawn shots of the rising sun,with all the attendant sounds of crickets,cicadas and cattle lowing.This is a filtered and idealised human nature set in a Mennonite community of Plautdiesh -speaking people who are attuned to the season's cycles, through cattle farming and crop harvesting.The film is composed of beautiful tableaus of widescreen natural vistas,earth and sky meeting on wide horizons, well captured on the many driving sequences,backed up with a soundscape of waving grass and trees,crickets,birds and running water. Johan is sitting with his wife and six children giving silent grace with a ticking clock. Beneath the harmonious surface there is tension between the couple.His wife Esther takes the children out and he breaks down in tears when alone. He has been having a two year affair with Marianne,another Mennonite (single)female.The imagery in this film induces a kind of trance-like contemplation. His infatuated mood expresses itself through him driving round his friend Zackaria to some raunchy music.He goes on to meet Marianne in a long kissing scene which ends in them making love.He is well supported by his friend and father,who thinks it is fate or the devil's work but does not condemn him.Johan thinks every man makes his own fate. We cut to a beautiful scene of the family bathing together. In such scenes the inner peace in the community is brought out.But his wife who he has told of his infidelity is close to tears as she loves him just as he does her,but he feels God intended Marianne for him.We see the family at a cornharvest in some stunning scenes and the machine moving through the fields of corn.Johan,Esther and the kids say silent grace by their pick-up.

Johan feels torn and tells his wife he has to see Marianne,so she tells him to take the children to the dentists too.He engineers it so that a man looks after the kids in his camper van with it's own TV set they can watch.He steals away and makes passionate love with Marianne for the last time.Marianne saying she is at her happiest and saddest since `Peace is stronger than love' and expresses pity for Esther.In a bleak driving scene in the pouring rain Esther asks to get out to vomit.She runs from the car to a tree and breaks down holding it.She has a sense of loss:she used to be a part of everything,fully alive next to Johan.Now heartbroken,she dies of heart attack.She is next laid up in a coffin after being washed by her mother while her family say their last good-byes.The community sing mournful hymns.He talks to Marianne saying he'd do anything to turn back time.Marianne asks to see Esther and tears drop onto Esther's cheek as Marianne kisses her.What follows is a kind of resurrection episode,but is probably metaphorical,a wish fulfilment happy ending.You can either reject or accept this ending but remember this has a religious setting.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Sep 2013 11:44:56 BDT
Your comments are extremely flattering for this boring drivel. What a gift this film was to those who like to sit back and analyse deeply, and if it can be compared in agonising detail to similar subjects, so much the better. Sorry to be so abrupt, but I think the upermost duty of a film is to hold and entertain. The subject matter for this film had marvelous potential, but it was wasted by the exaggerated stylization of someone appearing to be anxious to get an award of some sort. Scorcese thought it was great, so I guess one man's meat etc..
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