Opening 2 Apr 2009
Stellet Licht (Plattdeutsch for silent light) takes place in a Mennonite community in Mexico. Apparently, there are many types of Mennonites in Mexico, but these depicted in the film are slightly modern in that they are allowed to use motor vehicles and accept modern medical care. Does modernity also affect morals? In this totally religious and law-abiding community, Johann, who is married to Esther and has six children, also has a lover: Marianne. Full of despair, he even discusses his affair with his wife and father. The situation is unbearable for all involved, and love and disloyalty are the gist of the movie.
The movie is slow moving, just as Mennonite life is. What impressed me was the cinematography – the scenes of nature and the close-ups of the characters – so close up that one could see individual beads of sweat on Johann’s face or his father’s nasal hair or even a lone insect crawling on the beard of a relative. Above all, the film is quiet and contemplative. (Thelma Freedman)