Mariam Chachia: Listen to the Silence

Just left – with a smile on my face – the screening of the Georgian documentary in a full house cinema at DOKLeipzig. The film that is a debut for the director and takes part in the ”Next Masters Competition” is an impressive work by the director and her producer Nik Voigt. It has a wonderful 9 year old boy as the main character. He is deaf, lives in a public school with other deaf kids, that is his world, and this is where his parents come to see him for a very short time before they want to go home again.

Luka is his name and he is a wild boy, who fights with other boys and has big problems in sitting still. His luck is that he has a talent for dancing, that he likes that discipline, that the teacher likes him – at least for a period before Lukas gives up on that.

The director, we were told at the Q&A after the screening, stayed at the school for a year – it is a banality to say that time is crucial for an observational documentary like this, where you see the boy caught in many situations and where the film ”allows” itself to put it all into a chaptered fairy tale frame, because the tone of the film is warm and full of love towards the characters. The long shooting period has also given these documentary film magical moments that you can not foresee will come – and the chance for the film to establish a small love story, a b/w sequence where Luka is dreaming about the sweet girl that he has danced with. The sound work of the film is fascinating playing respectively with no sound and a lot of sound for us spectators to hear and sense the place.

Mariam Chachia and Nik Voigt expressed the hope that the film can be seen around Georgia to create awareness in the society about the conditions deaf kids grow up being hidden away… I met the two earlier this year in Riga where they pitched a new project from a hospital for patients with tuberculosis. I have no doubt after ”Listen to the Silence” that another fine film will appear from their hands.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3876