CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Guilt, Grief Wrapped Up in Mystery of ‘The Silence’
CHICAGO – With echoes of “The Vanishing” and “Memories of Murder,” Baran bo Odar’s dread-filled “The Silence” is a character-based thriller that focuses more on the people wrapped up in its web of perversion and murder than the crimes themselves. It’s an accomplished debut with a notable German cast that falters only a bit in terms of plotting and pacing but still heralds the arrival of a confident director who works well with both actors and visual composition. “The Silence” can be punishingly bleak and even depressing but it’s undeniably well-made and performed at the same time.
Two men – Peer (Ulrich Thomsen) and Timo (Wotan Wilke Mohring) – sit and watch a film in a darkened room. Timo’s stunned, ashamed reaction makes it clear that the film is not a happy one. They get in a car and drive off, passing a young girl named Pia on a bike. They double back and head after the girl. Peer gets out of the car and brutally, sexually assaults her, before killing her. Timo is shocked but silent. He even watches as Peer dumps the girl’s body in the lake.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Silence” in our reviews section.|
23 years later and the community still reels from the fact that Pia’s killer was never found. Pia’s mother (Katrin Sass) and stepfather (Burgart Klaussner), who happened to be the investigating officer on the case, still live under the heavy blanket of grief. So does Timo, having done nothing to stop the crime nor report on the murderer who still lives in the same apartment where they watched the film that inspired him to kill. Timo has a family now and daughters of his own but the past lingers for everyone.
Photo credit: Music Box Films