Iranian New Wave Cinema: The Silence (1998)

Silence_by_Mohsen_MakhmalbafSunday February 21st 2016, Iranian new wave cinema: The Silence (1998) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

The Silence (Persian: سکوت‎‎) is an Iranian film from 1998. It is directed by the well known Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The movie is about a little boy who has the onerous task of earning money for his family, but is always enchanted and distracted by music. It is set in Tajikistan.

Synopsis: Khorshid lives with his mom in a house near a river somewhere in Tajikistan. The landlord comes around every morning to ask for the rent. Khorshid has to provide the money or else they’ll have to leave. His blindness has given him an amazing skill in tuning musical instruments which gets him a job at an instrument making workshop. But the problem is That Khorshid is mesmerized by sonorous music all the time; whenever he hears a great musician play, he loses track of time and place. For this, he always gets lost and gets to work late. How is he going to make a balance between his love of music and his task as a breadwinner.

The movie is replete with Symbols of Sufism. From the use of music to achieve ecstasy; the nature, and the broken mirror, the repeated image of the river, to the light coming from above, the symbolic representation of mystic interpretations of Islam get promoted during the whole course of the movie. But Makhmalbaf doesn’t stay local on this matter. His use of Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven) shows that he deliberately wants to say the themes he is referring to are of a universal nature according to him, and not just mundane, ephemeral, matters. The broken mirror is an icon borrowed from Rumi, which represents only a part of the truth. Everyone possesses a part of the mirror, i.e. a part of the truth, and thinks she has all of it. But, of course to a Sufi, none of the parts equals to the whole truth.


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