Silent: Hell is the people closest to you
by Joseph Proimakis
- Giorgos Gikapeppas’ sophomore feature, which won a FIPRESCI Jury Prize for best of show at Thessloniki, focuses on confrontations within the family
Giorgos Gikapeppas’ second feature film, Silent [+see also:
film profile], revolves around familial clashes as the director examines a generation looking for its figurative and literal voice, through the story of a young soprano who exhibits a mysterious case of hysterical aphonia.
Dido (as in the founder and queen of Carthage, rather than the British pop star) is a very talented soprano with a bright future ahead of her, until a spell of anxiety causes her to lose her voice. Her inexplicable misfortune engenders an isolative mood that leads her back to the house she grew up in, now abandoned by her family.
As she tries to create an asylum for her troubled psyche, her family takes turns invading her privacy in order to impose their concern and interest on her, though their denial of Dido’s situation and certain shades of envy of her independence cause tempers to rise and age-old wounds to reappear.
Kika Georgiou’s magnetising performance is the beating heart of this sombre – if rather talky – drama, her stony visage indicative of Dido’s unflinching resolution to tackle life on her own terms. Yet the constant attacks by those seemingly closest to her cause cracks in both her determination and her self-assurance. Georgiou’s progressive transformation from an angry beast to a wounded animal paves the way for the deafening climax that leads Gikapeppa’s film to its haunting conclusion: hell is not just other people, but the people you’d consider your safe haven.
Lensed in stark black and white by feature-length newcomer Marianna Ellina and featuring a strong supporting cast, the film was presented at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, where it occupied one of the two slots reserved for local titles in the International Competition, and went on to win the FIPRESCI Jury Prize for best of show in that section (see the news).