"Breach in the Silence"

in 35th Cairo International Film Festival

by Ferial Kamel

What kind of film do we expect to watch from the country of Che Guevara? What kind of film do we expect from two filmmakers who have also been involved with social work, dealing with marginal people? What kind of essay do you expect to read – these days – by a film critic from Egypt?

The answers to these questions can be found in a film from Venezuela, Breach in the Silence (Brecha en el silencio). Five film critics from different countries sat on the FIPRESCI jury which awarded this film. All five members were affected by the film.

Breach in the Silence depicts a problem which occurs in families who exist at the very bottom of the social ladder, looking at it from social, economic and cultural perspectives. The directors have used fine cinema language the express the pain of a girl’s suffering. Ana is a skillful girl but she is also deaf and lives a miserable life. Her rude mother treats her badly. The girl must take care of her sister and her young brother. She cooks the food and works with her mother in a factory. The mother takes care of her beauty to attract a friend who lives with the family. He has no task other than to make love with the mother. Ana is a victim of the man’s innumerable abuses; then, he begins to attack the young daughter. Ana tries to tell her mother, who is unaware of what is happening. By chance, the boy watches the man rape his sister and suffers negative psychological effects.

Finally, Ana decides to be free. The film’s ending is hopeful, as the girl escapes with her sister and brother. The rain falls and the mother cries. Ana is joyful; she expresses herself with sign language as the bus takes them far away. This film is supportive of children’s rights.

The filmmakers take care to show the environment in which the family lives; the script does not depend on dramatic elements such as suspense or surprise. The characters are presented in an effective manner. Sometimes the filmmakers make use of symbolic effects, such as when Ana appears behind a window with iron bars or when her image dissolves into darkness.

Edited by Lesley Chow