Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Silent Films

I am greatly attracted to quiet movies that speak mainly in silent images. "Death in Venice" comes to mind as a film in which the dialogue is for the most part unimportant compared to the mood.

Just recently we watched another Italian film "A Tree of Wooden Clogs," which has no real plot or story in the usual sense. Rather,the viewer, for three hours, watches the passage of time during a year in rural Lombardy as three families deal with the complex process of living. They are poor but seem unaware of it; there is no complaining or bitterness or hysteria,and the parents are seldom cross with their children. At night, the families tell stories and pray the rosary, as one season unfolds into another.

This is pure cinema. And, like "Into Great Silence," the documentary about the monks at the Grande Chartreuse, it takes the viewer into the calm center of lives lived with simple beauty.

Like some music, film, too, can be a welcome invitation to silence.

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