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Female Eye Film Fest Review: End of Silence

End of Silence from Anita Doron

This film is an elegantly shot, gently moving story about a Russian ballerina and her budding relationship with an antiques salesman and his ex-wife.

Doron, who shot the film as well as wrote and directed, has a fantastic eye - her shots are elegant, beautiful, and evocative. Doron is also brilliantly aware of all that can happen without words. As is obvious from the title, Doron focuses on what is not said, what happens instead in the space between words.

The story she tells seems deceptively simple - elegant and fragile ballerina Darya (Ekaterina Chtchelkanova) dances beautifully, but quits after a tearful disagreement with her director. Without money, and very little English, she is soon considering returning home to Russia.

Then, Darya meets the sweet and endearing Eddie (a very handsome John Tokatlidis), after he uses the best pick-up I've ever seen (If I have any secret admirers, please watch this film and take notes).

Despite Eddie's preoccupation with the past, his ex-wife (Sarah Harmer), and significant language barriers, they quickly fall in love. The beautiful thing about that is they fall in love the old-fashioned way - with a sweet and deliberate kind of determination, and very little in the way of unnecessary, nervous conversation.

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Eddie's ex-wife Nora (Harmer) is a very well-used complication. Nora is anxious and frustrated and sometimes angry, without ever alienating the audience. Instead, one relates to her attempts to control her environment, and wants to protect her - much like Eddie must have.

There is, thankfully, no competition between the women. Instead, Nora and Darya share, much like Darya and Eddie, a strange understanding, again arising more from body-language and carefully chosen phrases than the usual glut of conversation.

Darya, wise and quietly sweet, seems to implicitly understand the silence that gapes between Eddie and Nora, full of good intentions and hurt feeling.

Though the film is slow moving, its pace is careful and measured, like a ballet. Doron imagines and beautifully captures the tidal shifts between people.

Screens today at 4pm at the NFB


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