When summarizing It’s All So Quiet, it can be tempting to say too much seeing as how there are not a lot of salient plot points worth discussion. As such I have decided to write about in two different posts.
In the first part (below) I will merely state my reaction to the film without divulging too much of the film. In a separate post, and if you choose to see the film I hope you come back and read it, I will discuss it at bit more in depth going over those few salient plot points.
For an introduction to Thankful for World Cinema in general, please go here.
It’s All So Quiet is a film that sets you up from its pace virtually from the start. The opening titles roll for two-and-a-half minutes on a shot of wheat, with farmland and sunlight behind it. From this you should be prepared for a fairly deliberately paced film. If you’re not you’ll surely get the hint from the next few scenes where the protagonist Helmer (Jeroen Willems) first moves his bedridden father and then sets him up upstairs with a new bed in the living room.
However, as deliberate as the pace is the subtext of the film is fairly clear throughout and thanks to the actors most of their thought processes communicate their sentiments where words do not.
Helmer’s deciding to move his father upstairs is just the first upheaval in this film. The next that will occur is that a new, young farmhand Henk (Martijn Lakemeier) comes to work and live there and throws things into further disarray.
The cinematography in this film is magnificent. The cast proves time and again that so little of film acting is about the spoken word but rather playing the frame and physicality; dialogue-free Willems and Lakemeier share one of the most poignant and moving scenes I’ve watched this year.
As the story progresses, despite its lack of blunt commentary on the fact you soon will see what the film is about and the tale of repressed desire and unrequited love woven so skillfully by Nanouk Leopold here is one of the best of its rare breed that I’ve seen.