AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

12/11/07

Silent Light: The work of a genius

SILENT LIGHT
: Carlos Reygadas


PLOT SUMMARY: Into a long forgotten way of Mexican life, the Mennonite northern Mexico self contained community, there appear many signs of change: environmental and in the community's way of life.
Can Light be Silent?

CAST: Mennonite non-actors

FILM COMMENTARY
This is a masterpiece film filled with intense scenes of engaging natural events. the sunset, the watering hole. At the beginning of the film one wonders if the four very young children sitting silently at the breakfast table, their eyes closed as they await their father's pronouncement of Amen, are real or Mannequins. They seem so quiet, so emotionally disconnected. They seem clothed in a wealth of tradition that informs on every action and interaction to the detriment of outward expression of inner feelings.

Until the moment when....the family's Patriarchal head, the father is left alone in the kitchen while his wife and children go off to start their day.

He stands up and adjusts something on the wall. At this point we see only his lower torso. We do not know that what he has adjusted as he stands on the kitchen chair is the ticking clock above the door.

This film is about time and change. We see the ravages of this change after breakfast as the father sits alone, and is silent. There is a seemingly interminable series of moments as he sits and says nothing and we go from looking at him, to looking at the white stove that shares equal visual stage with the blue shirted father. This is an example of how the film maker is thinking about the viewer, not about how technically correct the picture frame is but how he can convey with no words the theme of the film, As the father sits and thinks, so must we.

At this point we know we are seeing the genius of a true craftsman. Because the human eye can not stay away from the stove.
As much as i wanted to look to the man, to see with eager anticipation what he is doing or about to do, my eye and mind seemed to function with rules of their own.
My conscious mind losses the battle.

I kept going back to the white stove. I counted the handles on the stove, the burners. I absorbed the green tea kettle on the stove and envisioned the food baking or being broiled.. This is a stove i know well, very well even though there is nothing else about this man or his life or his family that is familiar.

And that is the magnificent beauty of Silent Light. The old, the traditional shattered by the new:, The comparatively small tea kettle on a relatively modern stove in an old fashioned kitchen/farm house. . The dirt roads now paved with asphalt, maxi trucks pass by, the tractor to turn the field and the cows milked not by hand but by machines.

Silent Light is a tragedy, propelled by the ravishes of time that we can't "turn back" It is driven by the father's passion, his love, his need for love embodied in a woman who is not his "good" wife.
Although he knows his inability to desist from seeing the "other woman"; will shatter the life he leads as it does his children's he can not stop seeing her.
His battle is not with God but with time and time wins out.

While his wife has that intimacy of maternal love to satisfy her emotional strivings he desperately needs a woman to quench his human appetite.

In every scene and every moment of this film we are met with the old and the new and in the end, the pain of loss is so palpable that I cried and I didn't stop crying until the lights came on and i was standing outside trying to remember my next appointment, my next activity in my all too busy life.


RECOMMENDATION
See it! It isn't in the theaters but try to get a DVD. It will be well worth your effort.

LindaZ

No comments:

Post a Comment