Eye For Film >> Movies >> Deafness (2010) Film Review
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
This is a film all about sound. Traffic noise, initially, and then for all that is said, no dialogue. No subtitles. No qualms, cavils, or compromises. It's well constructed, paced, shot, written and directed by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, and with expert sound work by Sergiy Stepanskiy. It is set outside a school for deaf-mutes, but that's imparted by action, not words. This might almost be mime, were it not, well, brilliant.
A young man runs. A police car follows, one of those boxy beige-looking types, a Lada or a Trabant. Its engine idles, machinery of the State. From it emerges a bear of a man, Five Eleven rather than Five-Oh. To the chain link fence he goes, notepad in hand. Communication of sorts is had, and someone is brought to the car, ushered in, gently tucked through the door in a gesture familiar to any consumer of cop shows or crime flicks. Past he walks, and round, and into the car himself. There is a surprise, in the shadows. There is conversation, it would seem, lost, obliterated by the engine noise. They hear what they want to hear, but they do a lot to get it.
It's very good. Secretive policemen, oppression, technical expertise. Universal gestures, constant noise, inaudible conversation. A showcase for communicating a lack of communication. No words, no subtitles, impenetrable credits in an untranslated alphabet.
The only complaints are minor - given the note perfect performance of the burly policeman, the reaction of his student captive isn't as quite as believable. That's it. It might have been nice to have more context, but the essentials are there, enough. One doesn't need flesh if one is drawing a skeleton, but it takes real talent to talk about silence.Reviewed on: 25 Feb 2011