Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Silence - Irani movie

Another movie from Sagar's collection - 'The Silence' is a movie directed by acclaimed director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. It is a movie made teasingly, as it tries to enter the world that exists in a child's imagination.

'The Silence' is the story of Khorshid, a blind boy of maybe ten years old who lives with his mother in a faraway place by a lake. His father is away fighting in Russia and they have no money - and are facing eviction. The mother catches fish for them to eat, while Khorshid, who has an ear for music tunes instruments at a percussion instrument factory in the town.

Makhmalbaf establishes early on that the boy has a weakness for pretty sounds, pretty voices as he chooses bread from a bunch of pretty young girls based on the sweetness of their voice. Since he has the tendency to wander off after every sweet voice or sound, the boy's mother and the many girls selling bread who help him, plug his ears with cotton and take him to the bus stop. The bus driver takes care to drop him at the last terminus where another young girl who works with him, Nadereh, picks him up and leads him to the music instrument shop. Of course, at every pretty sound Khorshid wanders off, drawn like a moth to a flame. Once when Nadereh loses him in a crowd, she closes her eyes and follows a music she hears and lo behold, Khorshid is there. That was a nice scene.

Khorshid's boss has no ear for music, only money - and he is angry with the boy for not tuning the instruments properly and coming late because of his wanderings. Of course that means no money and eviction from their house as the landlord's deadline approaches. But the boy is irresistably drawn to music and instead of asking his boss for an advance, follows a musician who makes fine music in a bus, and with great difficulty finds him. He is fired from the job, but he does not care as he is very happy listening to the music made by the travelling musician and his friends. But in the knocking of the landlord on their door, to the percussion sounds in a hall Khorshid finds the tune of Beethoven's Fifth symphony (Ba Ba Ba Boom he says) and makes everyone play that tune - on copper vessels that are being dented, percussion instruments etc. You can take away his house, his job, his sight, but you cannot take away his music.

It is different no doubt. I have not seen anything like it. There are extreme close ups of people, of those pretty girls and Khorshid, shot in a way that we are not used to. It is so close that it is almost physical, as if the camera is touching the face like Khorshid would, to make our who it is. There is a magic in the way the music draws the boy, the way he cocks his head in concentration when he hears music. It is too early to say yet because I saw the movie only today, but it could be one of those movies that just goes and stays in a place of its own because there are few movies like it.

1 comment:

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