The Silence

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

More cinematic poem than traditional narrative film, this slow-moving tale of a young blind boy and the world he hears is a sensuous, visually stunning work of art from the Iranian director Moseh Makhmalbaf. Khorshid (Tahmineh Normativa) and his mother live in a small house by the river, but if they don't pay the rent in five days, they'll be evicted by...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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More cinematic poem than traditional narrative film, this slow-moving tale of a young blind boy and the world he hears is a sensuous, visually stunning work of art from the Iranian director Moseh Makhmalbaf. Khorshid (Tahmineh Normativa) and his mother live in a

small house by the river, but if they don't pay the rent in five days, they'll be evicted by their landlord. Each day Khorshid takes the bus to the city where he works tuning instruments for an old instrument maker. His friend Sadaat warns him that if he doesn't plug his ears while riding the bus,

he'll be distracted by pretty sounds and get lost. Khorshid tries to follow her advice, but is invariably lead astray, first by the music emanating from a transistor radio, and later by the sounds of a traveling musician. By the time he reaches the instrument maker's shop, Khorshid is late, and

the old man threatens to fire him; without his job, Khorshid and his mother will become homeless. Befitting the world of a sightless child, Makhmalbaf structures this exquisite film around natural sounds and music — specifically, that ominous opening phrase from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony:

Da-da-da doom! These notes form a recurring motif that Khorshid hears in the insistent knockings of the landlord and the old instrument maker, and, as Khorshid passes the young craftsmen as they pound their kitchen pots into shape, he tries to orchestrate their sounds according to the music in his

head. But as rich as his world is, Khorshid's life is made poignant by the sumptuous visual beauty with which Makhmalbaf surrounds his character — the perfect face of Khorshid's friend Nadereh (Nadereh Abdelahyeva) as she dangles cherries from her ears; a group of itinerant musicians

perfectly mirrored by the grove of trees across the river — all rendered with the director's unsurpassable sense of frame composition and color. (In Farsi, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: More cinematic poem than traditional narrative film, this slow-moving tale of a young blind boy and the world he hears is a sensuous, visually stunning work of art from the Iranian director Moseh Makhmalbaf. Khorshid (Tahmineh Normativa) and his mother liv… (more)

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