Lorena Villarreal’s “Silencio” U.S. release in Austin Theaters October 26
By Liz Lopez
Before I was offered the opportunity to view the film titled “Silencio,” I had not heard of an area in Mexico known as the “Zone of Silence” and that was rather interesting to find out it may be similar to what we have heard of as the Bermuda Triangle. According to Wikipedia, the Mapimí Silent Zone is in Durango, Mexico, overlapping the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve. In the mid-70s, a rocket launched from a U.S. military base near Utah lost control and fell in the Mapimí Desert region. Tales and legends have been heard ever since, and filmmaker Lorena Villarreal (“Las Lloronas”) wrote, directed and produced “Silencio” for the big screen based on these true events.
This supernatural drama is about a family tragedy in Mexico while driving along the highway and how it ties in with a grandfather, Dr. James White (John Noble), who holds a family secret when he was a scientist in his younger years working alongside an apprentice Peter (Nic Jackman, younger, Rupert Graves, elder). The dialogue is bilingual at times and the accents may be too confusing to follow the story and may have viewers lose their attention. According to this story, Dr. White was sent by the U.S. government to Mexico’s Zona Del Silencio and he has family there. If it is a bit difficult to follow by a bilingual audience, it may have the potential for a Spanish dominant viewer to get frustrated. The basic story is good, but does not feel as authentic as I had anticipated. It does have the moments that make it feel almost veering into the Spanish language telenovelas that are predictable. It is not a film to miss viewing entirely, but a matinee or discount day at the local cinema is a good choice for it.
“Silencio” is about the story of Ana (Melina Matthews) who has had some issues since a family tragedy and new ones surface during the time that her grandfather (Noble) is developing dementia and can’t relate some necessary family history. Ana has one son, Felix (Ian Garcia Monterrubio), and as strange things begin to occur, she is faced with saving her son’s life. At the time her grandfather worked in Mexico, he made a discovery of a powerful stone with his apprentice (Jackman). Now as an elder, Peter (Rupert Graves) has his own agenda when he happens to be in Mexico.
Other characters/cast members include a thug (Hoze Melendez) who is harassing the Whites. A person with a certain “gift” is Daniel (Michel Chauvet), who can see and talk with dead people who convey messages to the living. He tries to help Ana with the issues she is facing.
Hopefully, Spanish-speaking moviegoers will see the bilingual film in the theater, but it may appeal to more when it becomes available on home video for families.