Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Silent Light

I saw this the other day. It's a film called Silent Light by Carlos Reygadas and is quite good. It's been making year-end lists for two years now and probably will again this year, having finally had a run in New York in January. It's a Mexican film set in a Mennonite community and is therefore almost completely in the low German dialect of Plautdietsch. You'd think this wouldn't make any difference, a foreign language is a foreign language, but there's something about the fact that it's a language foreign to almost everyone who will be watching the movie.

The plot of Silent Light deals with a man cheating on his wife, but what it is about is the mystery and wonder of both nature and morality. The main character, Johan, is awed by the moral problem presented by his love of a women besides his wife, and Reygadas, with shots like the spectacular sunrise time lapse that starts the beginning, puts the viewer in the right state of mind to be equally awed (I would absolutely call it manipulative if that word didn't have such a negative connotation).

There's a shot late in the film which I will only describe in generalities, because while calling it a plot twist might be a stretch, it was certainly unexpected to me. It's a long, still shot, wonderfully symmetrical as many of the shots in Silent Light are, and then something small happens, and it's so small that I (and my mom) wasn't even sure that it happened. More accurately, we weren't even sure that we were supposed to see it. And then it develops slowly and something seemingly miraculous happens. Or maybe it doesn't. It's a good mystery.

Just go see this movie so we can explore it together, thx (it's on Netflix Instant and it'll prolly be dope there but if you have a decent TV or movie theater or something I would recommend that).

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