Silence (PG) 84 mins ***
Here’s a carefully sustained experiment from Irish writer-director Pat Collins, aiming to turn cinemagoers away from gawping and back towards sustained listening. The bulk of Silence bombards us with the findings of a heartbroken soundman (Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride) as he snuggles up to his boom mic in a bid to record pure silence amid the countryside – a project invariably compromised by chuffing trains or locals clomping over to ask what’s going on. More so than The Conversation, it’s dense with ideas sourced from sonic theory – is silence radical or conservative, normative or a break from the norm? – but its thesis doesn’t preclude songs, wry sound gags, and even an unexpected tension as we’re cued to consider whether the protagonist’s ideal actually exists. Anyone caught trying to smuggle in popcorn should obviously be taken outside and shot – using a noise suppressor, preferably.
Silence is in selected cinemas nationwide.