Johan is the head of a family in a Mennonite community in northern Mexico. However, he goes against the law of both God and men by falling in love with another woman and, although he is honest with his wife about the affair, his actions create conflict in their otherwise serine and tranquil existence.
Cornelio Wall, Maria Pankratz, Miriam Toews, Peter Wall, Jacobo Klassen, Elizabeth Fehr, Jacques Brel
If you want a very different experience, try this film - but not if you are in a hurry. It is called Silent Light, and those are pretty much the themes that recur throughout the film. It has beautiful and unusual filming, starting with minutes of "silence" as the stars rotate over-head and then break into a glorious dawn, with time lapse photography. Whilst I say silence the entire film has an amazing assortment of background sounds (no music). For example, with the dawn shots you hear the braying of animals and background chirps of insects. Light, skies and contrasts fill the film. Most shots are incredibly slow, compared to the speed we are used to in normal films, but if you can slow down this gives a relaxed feeling of being right in the scenes (although I think it could well have been cut to shorter than 131 minutes)!
The "acting" is almost non-existent, and plot pretty minimal, although if you have patience it develops progressively and surprisingly. The participants are genuine Mennonites speaking Dutch and living in northern Mexico, who were instructed not to act. It shows, with some scenes looking as if they had forgotten their lines and are wondering what to do, but ultimately delivers something that gives a greater feeling of truth, more like a documentary than fiction.
This makes for an unusual film, but if you have patience and an interest in beautiful filming and moral issues, then give it a try - you may be pleasantly surprised!
The tone of Silent Light is captured in the long, solitary, atmospheric opening shot that transcends night into day. The feeling of this film is reminiscent of Shotgun Stories, with a same laid-back attitude that works well with tranquil surroundings. This is the simple, quiet life but the main character has the same urges and faults of any man, despite his wonderful family and picturesque habitat. Emotionally charged moments are handled with long takes and a hands off approach. The lasting effect is that you are sucked into the film and somehow cannot shake off its quiet calmness. Silent Light isn’t for everyone and I cannot say I enjoyed it greatly, but it left a lasting impression.