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.
TALKING IN SILENCE
Contrary to what the title would suggest, SILENCE (Pat Collins 2012) is a film in which sound plays an equally important role as to its absence. Although the film follows the brooding Eoghan (played by co-writer, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride) and his quest for quiet, it is through dialogue that the secrets to this film are unlocked. Seemingly random encounters occur throughout this pensive piece of filmmaking and the conversations had during these moments act as our guide through the often ambiguous narrative.
This is an extremely personal film and with each new character a new concept or snippet of information is unveiled. These interactions allow for Eoghan’s conscience to slowly be exposed as well as allowing us to delve deeper into his memories. The information gives the audience a framework to better understand the film. This is explicitly demonstrated in the scene in which Eoghan joins a local man for a drink in his mother's house. Together, they talk of philosophical theories which re-contextualise what silence could actually represent. Here, it is perceived as a concept achievable only prior to birth or after death. It is perhaps the most crucial scene in the film, allowing the audience to view silence as something other than an objective of tranquillity. It can also be seen as devoid of any life or existence.
The conversation that takes place is extremely free-flowing and natural, making it hard to determine where "documentary" ends, and "drama" begins. SILENCE is a film that requires the utmost attention to the dialogue and themes being discussed in order to interpret the narrative. Without these pivotal pieces of information, the film becomes nothing more than an assortment of bleak images, perhaps only fully understood by the writer himself. The brief exchanges throughout act as the glue to produce a coherent, thought-provoking film.
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 26 April 2017 and join the discussion!
One MUBI film, five perspectives, endless possibilities.