Shadows of Silence directed by Pradeepan Raveendran (review by Andrew Robertson for eye for film)

Blood flows across snow as he walks past his own body. He lies in state, is woken by a mobile phone alarm. That rattle of Motorola on table, the electronic bleat. There is a birthday party, the crunch of snow, wrists scratched by the passage of a razor, cleaned with a scrap of tissue paper. A snake curls around his neck, a train rushes past. This is possibly France. He is not from there.

Krishna Subramania brings a haggard weight to an almost silent role, ‘written’ and directed by Pradeepan Raveendran. According to the programme notes this is ‘exile’, but it is more than geographic. Hell is the absence of God, and this is the absence of home. There is family, even a cake, a sofa for a bed, but there is no ‘here’ there, a profound dislocation. Distance.

Copy picture

We don’t get the why, the where is uncertain, it’s a clue from a station, the onrushing locomotive. That telephonic rattle limits us in time a little, but it’s enough that it’s been too long. Krishna’s face has age written on it; bitter experience, opportunity, and time, too much time. He moves, we watch, and we listen.

Anand Krishnamoorthi’s sound work is a vital component. In the dream-like, with the repetitive ideation, through the self-destructive and the hallucinatory, and back – the sound, crisp, cold, accurate, ties it together. Krshna Nagapillai’s shooting, yes, Raveendran’s story, but it is the crunch of snow, breathing, silence – tied together, tied to this place, but yearning, longing, waiting. Yet all of this, all of it, comes to one set of eyes, staring in a mirror, wandering across landscapes that are not human, that are not home. Some banlieue, some snow-covered estate. It is a place without engagement, all loops and no hooks. He wanders, wonders, watches, waits, and again and again there is death. It is a portrait of oppression, exclusion, imposition uncertain and outcome disheartening. It goes on.

It is haunting, mysterious. It leaves a longing for more information, for knowledge of home – that’s apt, deliberate, powerful.

Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2011


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