- Silent Light is a story set in a Mennonite community in Mexico. Reygadas uses non-professional actors who speak Plautdietsch- a dialect used by Russian Mennonites. Johan (Cornelio Wall) is ravaged by guilt over his affair with Marianne (Maria Pankratz). His wife Ester is played by Miriam Toews.
- The genre is melodrama, but the style is undoubtedly dedicated to realism.
- Reygadas uses 35mm and 2.35 : 1 aspect ratio.
- After the opening shot, the film cuts to the clock- these Mennonites are early to rise and work.
- Reygadas is very deliberate. At the 13-minute mark we are still at the second scene. His camera pushes forward on the table tracking in on Johan crying at the head of a table. This is an immaculate opening 15-minutes.
- Chloe Zhao’s The Rider and Nomadland feel like the part of the lineage here. These are non-professional actors- realism (no music), magic hour work and cowboy hats.
- Reygadas uses pace and reoccurring formal camera movements. He tracks forward constantly- the mechanic shop, the shower.
- Realism again with the long, uncomfortable holds. Like the long take kiss with Marianne.
- This is a family crisis- and a personal spiritual crisis for Johan. There is the family at stake, his faith, and all the while he has the background duty of work (captured in the routine here- tractors, cows in long conscious sequences).
- At the 92-minute mark another long take- a set frame composition of the lone car on the highway. It is “a massive attack of the heart”. This is a sad film- one sympathizes for Johan, for his wife, for Marianne- everyone involved.
- They “seal her”- the funeral. Reygadas shoots this from the outside of the window. Then at the 112-minute mark there is the whiteout room with accent red carpet. This is Ordet– this is a jaw-dropper of a sequence. The kiss from Marianne and Ester rises in a long take. This is biblical – this is Breaking the Waves.
- a sort of spectacular minimalism
- A Must-See / Masterpiece border film
Have you seen any of his other work?
@Zane- I have not. This is the first- something I do plan on remedying here in 2022.