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Winter Silence

Sonja Wyss
Netherlands 2008 / 70’

A small mountain village in a valley surrounded by snowy peaks. Rough, silent people, merciless nature and seemingly eternal winter. A man's death makes the time flow even more slowly in mourning. The widow and her four daughters spend long winter days praying in silence, doing their everyday duties and coping with what they see at night... Sonja Wyss's film is crude and ascetical and yet the image and sound are sophisticated. For the director both layers of the film have the same meaning: The sound is an additional level of experience, a narrative form paralleling the images. It enriches our experience and touches us in a way very different from an image. As in music, various voices and pitches produce a multi-layered composition. In many scenes it is the sound that is the most important. People are silent, things and activities speak instead; we can hear stiff skirts rustle, wooden floors creak, threads moving through the material during embroidering. Every sound, even a slightest one, is symbolic in the house filled with silence.
And although this is a simple story told, there are not many film "happenings", the film thrives on its unspoken words, hidden emotions, passions and materialised dreams.

Monika Kocbuch

Sonja Wyss

Born in 1967 in Freeport, Bahamas, she is also a citizen of Switzerland. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Zürich and she studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She has lived and worked in the Netherlands for over 15 years. She specialises in audiovisual art, she creates installations and short videos. Her works have been presented at many expositions in Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, USA and other countries. Winter Silence is her feature-length debut and her first work made in cooperation with a film crew; she had previously made all her short films by herself. The film was inspired by a vacation spent with her family in a small Alpine village where the director had an opportunity to take a close look at a small, isolated community.


1997 Get off my back (video, short)

1998 To Date (video, short)

1998 Pippi (video, short)

1999 Grüezi wohl Frau Stirnimaa / Hello Miss Stirnimaa (video, short)

2000 Purity (video, short)

2001 Hoch-Zyte / High Time (video, short)

2001 Die Krähe / The Crow (video, short)

2007 Ich will raus / I want to get out (video, short)

2008 Winterstilte / Winter Silence

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