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Silent Light

Carlos Reygadas
Stellet licht
Mexico, France, Netherlands, Germany  2007 / 145’

Johan is a dutiful Mennonite. He has a wife and children who love him. But, despite himself and his moral convictions, he falls in love with another woman. Faith, loyalty, and desire threaten to tear him apart. Reygadas’ third feature film is set in a religious community whose protestant ethic and prescriptions for family and community life have not changed since the 16th century. This portrait of an insular society, with its own unique culture, language and theology, signaled a broadening of Reygadas’ stylistic horizons. Silent Light, which screened in competition at the 7th New Horizons IFF, opened a new chapter in the director’s creative output. The radical techniques and improvisation of his earlier works here give way to greater precision, lucidity, and esthetic harmony.

Krzysztof Świrek

awards

Cannes IFF 2007 – Jury Prize; Rio de Janeiro IFF 2007 – FIPRESCI Prize; Chicago IFF 2007 – Gold Hugo; Ariel Awards 2008 – Golden Ariel

Carlos Reygadas

Carlos Reygadas was born in Mexico City in 1971. At university, he initially studied law with a specialization in international jurisprudence, but later rejected the lawyer’s life for a career in film. His short film debut Maxhumain first screened at an independent filmmaking competition in Belgium in 1999. Only three years later, Reygadas directed his debut feature film Japan, which he also wrote. The film turned heads among critics and received awards at festivals in Cannes, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. His second film, Battle in Heaven (2005), was a Golden Palm nominee in Cannes. As had his debut, it too stirred some controversy, yet at the same time established the director as one of Latin America’s most exciting new talents. His third feature, Silent Light (2007), showed a new maturity from Reygadas, bringing together the major recurrent themes of his work with a vision that recalls the classics of metaphysical cinema. In 2010, the director contributed the short This Is My Kingdom to the collective project Revolution, which brought together young Mexican filmmakers to present their visions of the legacy of the Mexican Revolution at its centennial. His latest film Post Tenebras Lux screened at the Cannes festival in 2012.

Although his filmography counts only four feature films thus far, Reygadas has firmly established a recognizable style. His methods are anything but complacent: he relies mainly on untrained actors, frequently incorporating spontaneous, improvised sequences in his films, but he is also a staunch believer in classical filmmaking methods. In interviews he professes a radical filmmaking vision, but one that is nevertheless rational and coherent. Reygadas demonstrates clarity of though and purpose in his creative choices – his approach to filmmaking is based on clean esthetics, intuition, and critical self-awareness.

Filmography

1999 Max / Maxhumain / Max (short)

1999 Jeńcy / Prisioneros / Prisoners (short)

2002 Japón / Japón / Japan

2004 Filmando Batalla en el cielo

2005 Bitwa w niebie / Batalla en el cielo / Battle in Heaven

2007 Ciche światło / Stellet licht / Silent Light

2010 To jest królestwo moje / Este es mi reino / This Is My Kingdom (segment in Rewolucja / Revolución / Revolution)

2012 Post tenebras lux / Post Tenebras Lux

Prepared by: Krzysztof Świrek

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Cast & Crew

director Carlos Reygadas
screenplay Carlos Reygadas
cinematography Alexis Zabé, archival footage
editing Natalia López
sound Raúl Locatelli
cast Cornelio Wall, Maria Pankratz, Miriam Toews, Peter Wall, Jacobo Klassen, Elizabeth Fehr
producer Jaime Romandia, Carlos Reygadas
production Mantarraya Producciones, No Dream Cinema
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language Plautdietsch, Spanish, French, English
colouration colour