This week, our writers discuss a film that speaks quietly to its audience and requires the recognition of the quiet intensity of the narrative. SILENCE (Pat Collins 2012) is about a sound recordist, Eoghan (Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride), who returns to Ireland after 15 years of living in Germany, to record areas free of man-made sound. During his quest, he is influenced by folklore and a series of challenging encounters that reflect the intangible silence of his childhood. The film celebrates the beautifully poetic landscape of Ireland and the stories it has to tell.
THE HEART OF SILENCE
A thread of nostalgia runs through SILENCE (Pat Collins 2012) like a breadcrumb trail as sound recordist Eoghan makes his way back home for a job from the busy, man-made city sounds of Berlin. Attempting to capture the sounds of nature untouched by man in his native Irish countryside, Eoghan interacts with a variety of people who ironically interrupt his quest for silence. He remains unfazed by their appearance and they ultimately implore him to search his past. The nostalgic thread remains prominent in these instances and drives the narrative. Eoghan intently listens to the stories that the locals have to tell about their experiences involving sound and silence. The stories are deliberately intertwined with Eoghan’s quest as he aims to discover true silence for himself.
The breathtaking landscape that Eoghan traverses throughout the film becomes a character in itself and a companion to Eoghan. He often sits still with his headphones on and boom mic placed in the ground, capturing the sounds of nature that are not man-made. It is a landscape that Eoghan is familiar with but is now seeing with a new-found sense of appreciation after his time in the city. The dramatic and unnerving beauty of the scenery takes Eoghan’s hand and leads him into the past where he is more content listening to the stories of the locals than sitting with his sound equipment in solitude. In these moments, the film utilises the flowing rivers and vast mountains to help Eoghan discover what he is looking for. At first this may have been to record natural sound but, as the film unfolds and Eoghan treads deeper into these once familiar lands, his nostalgic desires force him to reminisce about his childhood in the forgotten landscape and his journey finds him at his old family home.
The scenery acts as a tour guide, leading Eoghan to various avenues in his past where the differences between silence and peace become blurred and Eoghan’s interpretation of silence becomes unclear. Although he enjoys his interactions with the locals surrounding his picturesque home, he ultimately will not find what he is looking for without first re-discovering what led him away and then back again to where his heart truly lies.
Every day this week a different writer will provide their perspective on our MUBIVIEWS film and each post will be open to comments from our readers. Watch SILENCE on mubi.com until 25 April 2017 and join the discussion!
One MUBI film, five perspectives, endless possibilities.