Between the gap that once separated the mundane and the minute from the important and the serious there now exists a type of aesthetic experience that forms the link between them; art, under these circumstances, and within the purview of these films, becomes a peculiar form of psychotherapy.
The title of Cristian Mungius new film has the glint of a blighted promisethe ultimate tease. A huddled coldwater monastery is the setting of an ordeal ensnaring former orphan Alina, who has just returned to Romania in a stunted effort to defrock childhood friend Voichita. There are sins to absolve, demons to exorcise.
Arriving with nearly 50 color plates and three essays by editors Toby Kamps, Steve Seid, and by contributor Jenni Sorkin, Silence is the companion to an eponymously exhibition co-organized by the Menil Collection in Houston and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. At nearly 100 pages, it is a solemn, handsomely produced affair.