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The Silence (1998)

Mohsen Makhmalbaf  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009PW3RO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

""Radiantly Sensuous." —Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Breathtaking. Visually Indulging." —John Anderson, Newsday

"A flip-book of gorgeous, lyrical images." —Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner

"Funny and profound. " —Brian Miller, Seattle Weekly

From one of Iran’s most celebrated filmmakers, comes The Silence, a hypnotic symphony of visual and aural rhythms. The Silence follows the life of Khorshid, a blind 10-year old boy who experiences the world through sound. Living with his mother in a small village in Tajikistan, Khorshid earns money tuning musical instruments.

Nadereh, the beautiful young protégée of the instrument maker for whom Khorshid works, acts as his eyes, fetching him every day at the bus stop and leading him through the streets to his destination. Sometimes on the way, a conversation or melody attracts Khorshid’s attention and he loses himself in the compelling harmonies of the city and everyday life.

About to lose his job and his home, Khorshid creates a world where he can be happy; where hypnotic sounds and the music of the world shows him how to experience life. "


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(12)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If you close your eyes, you'll learn better" November 7, 2007
Format:DVD
"The Silence" tells the story of the blind boy Korshid who needs to make money from his musical instrument tuning job so that he and his abandoned mother can pay the rent before they are thrown out by their landlord at the end of the month. Korshid's problem is that he is easily distracted by beautiful sounds and wanders off in pursuit of them, making him late for work and thereby, susceptible to getting fired by his boss. Nadereh, a girl probably close to the age of puberty who also works for the boss, is his escort and friend. You should know that since she has not yet reached puberty, Nadereh does not yet have to wear a headscarf like all the other women we see in this Central Asian Islamic society. Nadereh, like Korshid, loves beautiful things and thus we are introduced to the main conflict of the story. Korshid needs to work to make money, but he doesn't because of the distracting beauty of some parts of the world he hears, smells, feels, and tastes around him. Nadereh clings to the delights of her girlhood--delights which would be deemed too trivial or even indecent for a woman, but excusable for the time being since she is still considered a child--but official adulthood is probably looming close for her. It seems all the other women just above her age are busy struggling to bake and sell their bread, or their colorful produce--and all of them are headscarved.

Makhmalbaf assaults us with beauty in his movie--bright sunlit scenes with women in colorful flower print headscarves and clothing selling bright red onions and cherries. He gives us closeups of young girls' clear chins and pink lips.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unseen Makhmalbaf October 11, 2006
Format:DVD
Mohsen Makhmalbaf has had a few distinct phases. First there was the gritty-realist beginning (as in The Cyclist), then the self-reflexive cinematic portrait of Iranian society (Salaam Cinema and A Moment of Innocence), and finally his most recent, the painterly poetic phase. All of these are of interest, and it's too bad that Makhmalbaf - perhaps because he's tried several different styles - doesn't get the respect of Abbas Kiarostami.

The Silence is one of the most visually striking films made in the last ten years, and though it's a visual masterpiece there's no denying that the imagery easily outdistances the slight narrative. Still, strange that this film remains so obscure. Shot in remote Tajikstan, it is one of the most remarkable bouquets of color I can remember seeing in a film. For anyone who appreciates the visual pleasures of the cinema or has an interest in obscure locales, Makhmalbaf's film is a stunning achievement.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A foreign film worth seeing May 26, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Not for everyone, this is a blend of poetry, music and visuals, a breath-taking and beautiful movie. Very sensual, but not in an erotic way, the movie tells the story of a boy who experiences the world through sound and earns his living tuning musical instruments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but incredibly rewarding November 20, 2010
Format:DVD
Mohsen Makhmalbaf shot his 1998 film SOKOUT (The Silence) in Tajikistan, a setting as exotic for his native Iran as for an international audience. As the film opens, we meet the blind boy Khurshid (Tahmineh Normatova) and his mother living on the outskirts of the capital Dushanbe, now recovering from several years of civil war. Each morning their landlord knocks on their door to remind them that the rent is due soon, threatening them with eviction if they don't pay up. Khurshid is employed in a workshop, tuning musical instruments before they are sold. However, his master is increasingly fed up by his tardiness, for on the way to work Khurshid tends to follow any pretty sound he hears. It falls to the master's adopted daughter Nadareh to ensure that Khurshid makes it to work, but she is fascinated by his different perspective on the world around him.

This is a film of rich visuals. While Makhmalbaf does portray the poverty and failing infrastructure of Tajikistan, he powerfully draws out the varied colours of the country, as well as the immense ethnic and racial diversity of Transoxiana. One curious focus of SOKOUT is the ambiguous period between girlhood and young womanhood, as Nadareh and another female character of the same age are first introduced with extreme closeups of their lower faces, which make their exact age uncertain. Although still very much a child, Nadareh is shown aspiring to adulthood, drooping cherries over her ears like earrings and placing flower petals over her fingernails as makeshift nail polish.

Although memorable and often entertaining, SOKOUT falls short of greatness, for what its plot all means is not clear. There's no closure or resolution, and indeed by the end of the film, things are looking worse for Khorshid and his mother than ever.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A visually beautiful film about entrancing sounds June 1, 2007
Format:DVD
The blind, ten year old instrument tuner named Khorshid at the center of this film is in love with sounds and rhythms: music, rivers, bees, poetry, a girl's pretty voice. One intriguing sound is enough to peel him off from the business of the day and send him in a new, unplanned direction. A girl named Nadareh watches after Khorshid and helps to keep him from wandering too far, but his job is in jeopardy and he and his Mother are facing eviction. Such temporal concerns are secondary to Khorshid, whose obsession with sound is relentless.

The plot is simple, the pace is slow, but this film is beautiful. The imagery is powerful, sensual and provides the viewer with a visual mirror on Khorshid's aural, interior fantasy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Silence? What is Sound?
It is said that a good book or a good film leaves one with more questions than answers. I would say, that a great film leaves one with neither questions nor answers, just silence. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michael Kovitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing work of Art
I hope this work would not go unnoticed. A great depiction of a society almost lost behind the Iron Curtain.
Published 10 months ago by C. Afshar
5.0 out of 5 stars GREATNESS IN SIMPLICITY
THERE IS AMBIGUITY AS ANOTHER REVIEWER NOTED. HOWEVER, THIS IS OFFSET BY THE RICHNESS
OF SIMPLICITY. IT SEEMS TO OPEN A DIMENSION RARELY FOUND IN FILM. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JOHN ZOLLBRECHT
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, poetic film from Iran's Makhmalbaf
I saw this film when it was released, some 15 years ago, and I haven't seen it since. So I don't recall all the details. Read more
Published on August 28, 2011 by Andres C. Salama
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but incredibly rewarding
Mohsen Makhmalbaf shot his 1998 film SOKOUT (The Silence) in Tajikistan, a setting as exotic for his native Iran as for an international audience. Read more
Published on November 20, 2010 by Christopher Culver
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating but incredibly rewarding
Mohsen Makhmalbaf shot his 1998 film SOKOUT (The Silence) in Tajikistan, a setting as exotic for his native Iran as for an international audience. Read more
Published on November 20, 2010 by Christopher Culver
4.0 out of 5 stars Blind but finding happiness with everyday routines
Khorshid is a blind 10 year old boy from Tajikistan who lives with his Mother, who is struggling to eke out an existence and desperately trying to hang on to their hut/home. Read more
Published on April 20, 2008 by D. Kanigan
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