Michaelangelo Antonioni’s bread and butter was films like Silent Land. He made innumerable slow, beautifully composed films about bourgeoisie malaise. He also struggled to depict convincing relationships, but because he was a master, he routinely worked this to his advantage.
Antonioni’s brilliance probably would’ve continued to shine through if he were making films today. But what has changed is that his style isn’t particularly special anymore. I highly doubt that Agnieszka Woszczynska’s Silent Land is the only Antonioni-like film I will over the course of TIFF 2021, because there’s a whole cottage industry of European art films in this vein. At one point, Woszcyznska blatantly culls from Red Desert with a shot of her main couple lounging on the rocks by a glistening, secluded Italian cove. It’s a beautiful shot, but it’s parallels are apparent.
Speaking of the film’s main couple, it’s very clear that Adam’s (Dobormir Dymecki) and Anna’s (Agnieszka Zulewska) relationship is on the rocks. They’re vacationing in a small Italian town, in an attempt to destress. Unfortunately, a traumatic incident ensures that the cracks in their relationship are pried wide open.
Despite not feeling particularly fresh, Woszczunska directed an extremely well crafted film. This bodes well for the long-term success of the first-time feature filmmaker. She particularly captures the Italian countryside well. And the atmosphere crafted is one of dread and curiosity, a tenuously difficult balance to achieve. But I’m definitely much more excited for the next film than I am for this one.
- Release Date: 9/10/2021