Carlos Reygadas’s visceral cinematic sensibility can be felt in every frame of Silent Light, briefly showcased at New York’s MoMA last fall and already cropping up on numerous critical year-end lists (mine included). It receives wider U.S. exposure starting this week at Gotham’s Film Forum, thankfully: As with all of the Mexican filmmaker’s works, it demands to be seen on the big screen; only an immersive theatrical setting can do justice to such complex visual and aural textures, painstakingly planned camera movements, and sensitivity to light. This holds particularly true in the case of Silent Light, in which Reygadas tames his more bravura instincts, as rapturously beheld in Japon and Battle in Heaven, resulting in a film no less gorgeous, but more delicate in its beauty.
Set in a Mennonite community in Mexico, Silent Light quickly establishes the importance of nature in setting the rhythms and routines of the religious, rural lives at the film’s center. Its lauded opening shot chronicles a starry sky slowly giving way to breaking dawn as the cacophonous chatter of crickets chanting, dogs barking, and roosters crowing fills the soundtrack. From here on, birdsong is nearly constant, and images of land and sky frequently hold the camera’s attention for extended durations. Click here to read the rest of Kristi Mitsuda’s review of Silent Light.
And earlier: Michael Joshua Rowin on Silent Light.
And, lo and behold, Silent Light made our Top Ten . . .