The problem is always how to tell the ineffable, how to represent the unrepresentable (the problem, that is, for those who do not, strictly speaking, have problems). It is then that art strives to reach the darkest, the hardest, the most terrible, what cannot be said. ‘A silence’by Joachim Lafosse, From the title, it is a film built from the certainty of everything that does not appear on the screen, from what is not seen. And, therefore, one could say that, probably unintentionally, it illustrates quite well the difficulties that Schopenhauer saw, excuse me, in achieving the other (the Noumenon). But we’ll come to this later, at the end.
The film narrates, however contradictory it may seem, what it does not tell. We see a judge dedicated to the humanitarian and salvific task of putting a network of pedophiles in prison. And so on until his own family argues with him. He himself was long ago what he was pursuing. And it is not clear whether his interest in revealing the greatest and most nefarious of crimes has to do with his desire for redemption or with the most evident inability to get rid of the sad and dirty passion that devours him. The approach to the problem seems, to say the least, as brilliant as it is uncomfortable. And the film, aware of the dangerous enigma on which it walks, advances with due modesty. After all, the key is to be able to see as deeply as possible from the edge of the abyss, but without falling into it.
The Belgian director, always energetic, always intense and always on the verge of breaking the camera lens against the actors’ bodies, applies his feverish style book with rigor and, above all, a lot of nerve. Notable works such as ‘The White Knights’ o ‘An uneasy love They give a good account of the desire for truthfulness that presides over a filmography that is as irregular as it is lively, which is what counts. Now, however, Everything is much murkier, more cornered, infinitely more unbearable.
And perhaps because of this, because of the fear that the intolerable provokes, The film hesitates – and stumbles in its doubts – much more than one might expect. The always brilliant work of actors of the caliber of Daniel Auteuil and Emmanelle Devos is confused at times because of a script incapable of deciding among all – too many – the monsters it caresses: the judge who uses his power to humiliate the victims; the family that was an accomplice for so long; the media also in their own way necessary collaborators… It seems that Lafosse opts for confusion instead of, as he had promised, darkness. Be that as it may, the brilliant way of making the black of the night rhyme with the darkness of the souls pleases, at times it excites and always repels. Everything at once.
Be that as it may, the great film in the official section came from the hand of Cristi Puiu in the most scandalously insurmountable format. And even perfect in its darkness and hardness. If we insisted on continuing hand in hand with Schopenhauer we could do it. Also here what counts is what you don’t see. Also here what is relevant is the other: not what is said (which does not stop talking) but everything that remains unspoken. ‘MMXX‘ (we can imagine that it is the Roman transcription of 2020) presents four stories only very remotely linked to each other. Again, the director of ‘The death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)’, ‘Aurora, a very common killer’ (2010) y ‘Siernevada’ (2016) insists on his favorite topic: death. Once again, his characters are lost in an unbreathable habitat where corruption, crime, lack of communication and simple contempt conquer everything. Once again, the screen solidifies before the viewer’s eyes until it reaches the texture of granite.