About the Movie "Silent Light"

by Brenton Shields

"Silent Light" is a 2007 drama directed by Carlos Reygadas. The film explores the psyche of a religious married man in a Mennonite community who must battle his desire for another woman. It received several accolades at film festivals, and most of the dialogue is in Plautdietsch, a Russian dialect.


"Silent Light" is the story of Johan, a man from a Mennonite religious community in Northern Mexico. Johan has been married to his wife, Esther, for several years, but that connection is tested when he begins to fall in love with another woman. The film explores Johan's battle with his faith as it slowly tears him apart, particularly as the realization sets in that the other woman may mean more to him than his morality.


Carlos Reygadas primarily used actors with no previous film credits for "Silent Light." Cornelio Wall plays the main character of Johan. Maria Pankratz plays Marianne, the woman Johan lusts over. Miriam Toews plays Esther, his wife. Jacobo Klassen plays Johan's best friend, Zacarius. And Peter Wall and Elizabeth Fehr play Johan's father and mother, respectively.


The film was written and directed by Carlos Reygadas. Jeroen Baker, Remi Burah, Jaime Romandia, Jean Labadie and Frans van Gestel served as producers. Alexis Zabe served as cinematographer. "Silent Light" was shot in Chihuahua, Mexico, and made its premier on October 12, 2007.


"Silent Light" was received positively by critics. Five out of five critics on the RottenTomatoes website gave the film a positive review, and director Martin Scorsese said he was "amazed" and that it is "a surprising picture, and a very moving one as well." It won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, which is awarded to the best film of the show. It also won the Best Film award at the Chicago International Film Festival, first prize at the 2007 Havana Film Festival and Best Screenplay at the 2007 Stockholm Film Festival.