Director/Writer: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Starring: Tahmineh Normatova, Nadereh Abdelahyeva, Goibibi Ziadolahyeva
Studio information: New Yorker Video, 75 minutes
Original Theatrical Release: 1998
Whimsical tale about blind Tajik boy is light on plot but rich in atmosphere
The Silence is Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s loose musical fable about a blind boy who tunes instruments in Tajikistan. Although the idea is too thin to last the 73-minute running time, the film is visually and aurally striking throughout, shot with lots of close- ups and isolated sound effects to approximate the bubble the boy lives in. His friend and co-worker, a Tajik girl who hangs cherries on her ears, provides opportunities for whimsy, but the boy’s blindness often seems like either a novelty or a symbol; in either case, its falseness weakens the overall effect, even though the film easily has a dozen charming, memorable scenes.