Silent Light – Stephanie Oswald

Still image from Silent LightPhotograph by Stephanie Oswald

Photograph by Stephanie Oswald

Photograph by Stephanie Oswald

Photograph by Stephanie Oswald

Photograph by Stephanie Oswald

Photograph by Stephanie Oswald

Silent Light is a rather abstract and obscure film, but many of its themes actually feel quite real to me, or quite realistic. Part of my family comes from a region in the North East of France, on the border with Germany, where people have traditionally lived in an extremely austere way, and in which, to make a long story short – the Catholic Church has crushed many people’s lives. Forbidden love, sex and desire, and individual freedom made impossible by social rules – these are themes that are present in the film, and that I feel parts of my family must have experienced.

I have explored these themes with some of my photography in the past, and here are some photos that I took of a man’s house – a very religious man who came from the same region as me, in the North East of France (Alsace-Lorraine). The photos talk about the same themes as the film – religion, order, tidiness, men who can only be present as sacrificed beings and women who can only be present as saints. The little dolls at the beginning don’t dare to look at each other, and don’t survive the journey.

In an interview in BOMB Magazine, Carlos Reygadas said: “If you firmly believe in dogmas, you’ll never experience conflicts, but that’s reducing life to nothingness.” I very much agree with this, and I feel like Silent Light talks about a conflict that is resolved by going back to the norm, and as such, for me it’s a film about the death of the individual, and about going back to nothingness.

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Stephanie Oswald is a film programmer at the Star & Shadow Cinema and blogs at Film and Beyond.

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