September's reminding July
It's time to be good-bye
Summer is gone, but our love will remain
Like old broken bicycles out in the rain
In the 1980s, Guatemala suffered a terrorist attack that left people dead and injured when a bomb exploded near the bus where Fausto Müller’s mother was carrying him. The mother and child survived, but the explosion left the child permanently deaf. The memory of the attack was the starting point for the Guatemalan director's second film. In 2015, he had already gained public interest previously with his 12-second, Netflix-winning, film debut.
Latin America has been the scene of endless battles between left and right wing politics that have been very well portrayed in the film industry: Stories about dictatorships and military repression, terrorist groups, corruption, violence; Stories about those dead and missing: The Night of the Pencils (Héctor Olivera), Red Dawn (Jorge Fons), Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea), Machuca (Andrés Wood) are some of the most interesting examples.
But is the suffering of a thousand human beings greater than the suffering of one? The German writer Michael Ende asked himself that question in his diaries. What makes September, a Silent Cry, unique is that it is not limited to the mere political anecdote; it builds a deeply human history about the daily drama between a father and his daughter.
An explosion marks the beginning of the film, which tells us about the drama within loneliness, the pain of growing up, confrontation with fear and unconditional love, brought to us by Teresa (Costanza Andrade) and her father Josué (Saúl Lisazo).
Saúl Lisazo’s acting versatility is impressive (that kind of Latin George Clooney that we were used to seeing in soap operas) able to build in this film one of the most solid characters of his acting career. You can see the director’s touch, a disciple of Hitchcock, Spielberg and Cuaron, through his management of the cinematic language that always keeps us in suspense.
Teresa loses her mother after the explosion. The girl survives but loses her ability to hear. Joshua will have to take up the role of both father and mother with a deaf girl whose surroundings are not fit for her condition. The little girl will be forced to leave school because (ironically) she failed her music class. Her father will become her safe haven again. But over the years Teresa grows up, she is almost a woman and starts to seek her own path by bursting the overprotected paternal bubble. In one of the movie's most powerful scenes, Teresa screams out her frustration with all her might. An inner explosion as her world collapses. An outburst she herself is unable to hear.
The actress, Costanza Andrade, did a very interesting job of introspection with Teresa. Part of her acting training for the role consisted in putting earplugs in her ears and wearing them all the time to experiment with deafness, which is an almost suicidal exercise in a busy place like Mexico City.
The atmosphere of the film is like darkness before dawn. It is that moment in life in which, although it seems that everything is going wrong, you do not know what you can find just around the corner.
The film will premiere very soon in theaters in Guatemala and Mexico, which is where Kenneth Müller has launched his prolific film career.
Let’s all go to the movie theater to watch this tiny jewel in the form of Latin American film.