Silence of Love is a charming, pleasant film, without being too glamorous. So much of the setting is unfamiliar to New Zealander’s, yet many can relate to the circumstances which each character goes through. There’s the neurotic, single father; the high school daughter; and the artistic brother, living in exile.
Music professor Alessandro has been struggling to move forward in his life after the death of his wife many years ago. Living in an apartment in Strasbourg with his high school daughter Irina and “refugee” brother Crampone, the story begins. Their living quarters are much cluttered, as well as dirty, which is a graphic representation of what Alessandro’s life has become. In addition to being a professor, Alessandro also reads to the elderly people in hospital. For much of the first hour, one can see the frustration and rivalry which each character has with each other.
Midway into the film, love is in the air. Irina begins seeing a boy, Luigi begins talking to a music professor under his brother’s identity and Alessandro meets Florence (who is the daughter of a woman he read to at the hospital). From there, personal growth in each character’s life begins.
A well rounded cast was assembled. Stefano Accorsi, Neri Marcore, and Lisa Cirpriani put in amazing performances. Having a story which so many people can relate to helped propel each individual performance. Marcore and Cipriani were incredibly entertaining and believable in the scenes where they engaged in online dating account for Accorsi’s oblivious protagonist. Clotilde Courau appears in the film after her character’s mother passes away. Almost effortlessly, she steals the show, proving how capable she is in delivering a memorable performance without much screen time. Many New Zealanders may never see her on screen again; but they will remember this performance.
The film, in its entirety is great, without going on to be spectacular. Shaky camera angles spoiled many touching moments and rather standard wide angle shots too. Something which never disappoints in France is the majestic scenery. The shakiness sometimes withdrew the audience from being in this wonderfully, complex film. To believe that Alessandro could begin to transition over from a hugely neurotic individual, to a man who carries a calm, composed demeanour, after a few conversations and reflective moments was also difficult.
Something very impressive director Phillipe Claudel did do, was allowing the film to go at its own pace. Many films dash around frantically to squeeze in as many events as possible. Claudel allows events to progress easily, sometimes from day to day. All the audience had to do was sit back and take it easy.
Silence of Love is a delightful foreign film, full of joy, passion and transformation. Whilst sometimes let down by small errors, it does not stop the film from being a very good watch.
Silence of Love will be screening exclusively at Bridgeway Cinema from February 14th.
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