When the Unsaid is Said

in 44th Cairo International Film Festival

by Henda Haouala

Things Unsaid (2022), directed by the Macedonian Eleonora Veninova is presented for its first mondial premiere at the 44th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival in the official competition.

The film did not win a prize at this festival, but deserves to be talked about.

The director chooses a narrative focused on three characters. Maya, played by Sara Klimoska, a young teenager of almost eighteen, builds her story with Ana and Filip. The three spend some time at their holiday home.

Ana (Kamka Tocinovski) is a photographer, Fillip (Blagoj Veselinov) is a university professor. Passionate about photography, the passion of solitary people, Ana seems to be absorbed by her upcoming exhibition, she is preoccupied with framing the portraits. In her darkroom, the revelation of each photograph brings a moment of doubt. The character of Ana is subtly constructed, she is both cold and distant, kind and benevolent, she is attractive and repulsive. Fillip, attached to his wife, reveals throughout the film a certain unacknowledged discomfort resulting in his distraction from writing, while his indecision for simple things does not prevent him from being loving and understanding.

Maya disturbs the couple’s apparent serenity and begins to question, at first, small details of their life, then certain certainties, and finally their marital union. Maya is provocative, carefree, and thirsty for emotions, which upsets the silence of the couple, and makes them uncomfortable. The character of Maya remains a threat to Ana and Fillip’s pre-established emotional order. Maya sometimes isolates herself with Ana, sometimes with Fillip… until the couple can no longer isolate themselves. But everyone pretends to be absorbed, busy with something else, Ana—with her overexposed photos, as if she was trying to hide something—and Fillip, by his lack of inspiration, attaches himself to a dog that has imposed itself.

The presence of the animal is almost similar to Maya’s, it causes a certain discomfort, until the moment the dog disappears, which in turn leads to the breakdown of the marital union.

Throughout the film, the director has built her story into a series of narrative chapters punctuated by a title, out of which the viewer expects several possible outcomes.

The film is an attractive combination of cinema, photography, literature which basically questions the young woman, her husband and the young teenager, who dares to transgress a few rules. Things Unsaid is a film about the complexity of the human soul regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation. Eleonora Veninova dramatizes the unsaid through the question of the body, which remains throughout, expressed by the film language, silence, expression, desire, rejection and injury. The body occupies places, objects, thoughts. The body is discourse in each character. Things Unsaid is a deceptively minimalist film, strong in the perceived simplicity of its discourse. The film teaches us that there is no absolute truth, no intransgressible rules, no indescribable emotions.

Things Unsaid is a film of the unsaid with a poetic construction of fragile thought.

Henda Haouala
Edited by Savina Petkova