The Day Silence Died

A peaceful South American village learns the truth of the adage, "Silence is golden," in this delightful Bolivian comedy, which also works as a sly critique of mass media. Life in the aptly named provincial town of Villaserena is turned upside-down when dark, extravagantly mustachioed stranger Abelardo (Dario Grandinetti) arrives bearing...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

A peaceful South American village learns the truth of the adage, "Silence is

golden," in this delightful Bolivian comedy, which also works as a sly

critique of mass media. Life in the aptly named provincial town of Villaserena

is turned upside-down when dark, extravagantly mustachioed stranger Abelardo

(Dario Grandinetti) arrives bearing a loud speaker, a gleaming microphone and

a generator (it may be the late 1950s, but Villaserena still doesn't have

electricity). He then announces his plan to begin daily radio broadcasts from

his hotel room. For a fee, "Radio Nobleza" will play your favorite song,

broadcast a greeting or relay a message — insults cost extra. No sooner

has Abelardo installed his loudspeaker on the church steeple than the

once-silent town square is filled with the raucous sounds of bickering

neighbors, jealous lovers, angry parents and "Jailhouse Rock." Meanwhile, the

beautiful teenage Celeste is being held prisoner by her insanely jealous

father, Ruperto (Elias Serrano). Years earlier, Celeste's mother ran off with

a traveling actor, and Ruperto is keeping their daughter in chains until she

returns. He swears he'll then kill them both, unless Celeste's Prince

Charming, a handsome young farmhand (Guillermo Granda), rescues her first.

Adding to the fairy-tale atmosphere is Oscar (Gustavo Angarita), a writer who not only narrates events as they unfold but seems to have a hand in shaping

them. The film's magic-realist conceit (for audiences who've come to expect a

touch of the fabulous from anything South American) doesn't really work, and

detracts from what's really interesting about this deceptively whimsical

comedy — the way mass communication distorts real communication between

the good people of Villaserena. Abelardo's promise to bring the world to the

tiny town is undone by the fact that Radio Nobleza is obviously for sale, and

broadcasts only news Abelardo is interested in broadcasting. (In Spanish with

English subtitles.)

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A peaceful South American village learns the truth of the adage, "Silence is golden," in this delightful Bolivian comedy, which also works as a sly critique of mass media. Life in the aptly named provincial town of Villaserena is turned upside… (more)

Show More »