Night of Silence
A remote Turkish village is the setting for a claustrophobic and unsettling night, the wedding night of an old man and a young girl. Most of the film takes place within one room, where the mismatched couple meet for the first time, already married, bound together to resolve ancient feuds between their families.
Theirs is a culture where there is no option to deviate from the tribal and patriarchal traditions. “This is your new home now,” the bride’s mother tells the girl at the beginning of the film. “You enter it in your wedding dress and leave it in your funeral shroud. You cannot leave.”
The groom has spent many years in prison, and throughout the film we find out the terrible crimes he has committed in the name of family loyalty. His considers his life to have been at the mercy of fate, and that this marriage is another stroke of destiny nobody can do anything about. He finds his child bride’s innocence exasperating, and ends up telling her a story in order to calm her fear.
Everything about this situation is wrong – the extremity of the couple’s age and the utter acceptance of fate – and we feel a growing dread that something awful will happen by the end. As the wedding celebrations fade away and the villagers leave the couple to their dreadful isolation, silences, rituals and misunderstandings punctuate the night, which must lead to the inevitable marriage act.
The film itself is strangely uneven and has some abrupt changes of scene. It’s an intelligent study with a searing performance from Dilan Aksut as the bride. Night of Silence is an uncomfortable and fascinating view of a medieval way of life you can only be glad you were not born into.
Night of Silence is released in selected cinemas in June 2013.
Watch the trailer for Night of Silence here: