TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Silent Land’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2021, What's Streaming? by - September 10, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Silent Land’

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
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Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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