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Silent Land

Director: Aga Woszczynska

Stars: Dobromir Dymecki, Agnieszka Zuleweska, Jean-Marc Barr, Alma Jodoroswsky

The debut from Polish writer-director Woszczynska plays like a cross between one of Micheal Haneke’s ethical examinations and Roman Polanski-style portrait of paranoia. Adam (Dymecki) and Anna (Zuleweska) are the seemingly ideal couple, both tall, blonde and good-looking, holidaying on the Italian coast, and spending their days idling around and making love. When they complain that the promised swimming pool has no water, the owner promises to sort it out in two days, but later, when the problem is being dealt with, a shocking incident occurs. As the days wear on, the couple try and carry on the holiday, despite a fraught atmosphere, dining out and going diving with quarrelling French couple Arnaud (Barr in what is maybe a knowing nod to his role as a free diver in 1998’s ‘The Big Blue’) and his frustrated, unhappy wife Claire (Jodorowsky). As the couple reflect on what they might have done differently when the incident occurred, they begin to ponder deeper questions about their relationship. It’s handsomely rendered with the Hockney-esque, brightly-lit poolside exteriors contrasting with the darkly-lit cavernous exteriors of the local taverns. The depiction of bourgeois indifference and solipsism is overfamiliar, however, and once it becomes clear what the director is getting at, the picture starts to meander, while the concluding shot is unnecessarily didactic. An assured debut nevertheless.

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