The Silence is a very interesting Iranian movie that combines the realism and humanism that many have come to expect from today's Iranian film. But it also adds a poetic and musical element that takes the film into the realm of what might be called realism fantasy.
Directed by famed Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf the film is about a blind ten-year-old immigrant boy from Tajikistan named Khorshid. He walks everywhere with his eyes closed but he has pitch perfect hearing, which has helped him get a job in a music shop tuning guitars.
Khorshid loves music and delightful sounds so much that he often forgets where he is going and gets lost while following the sounds around him. To remedy this each morning as he gets on the bus to go to work he puts cotton in his ears and covers them so he won't following music. Each day he gets off the bus he is greeted by an eleven-year-old girl named Nadereh who takes his hand and walks him to work. She becomes his eyes and is a good friend who looks out for him.
Khorshid is young yet his job is essential to the income of his single mother. But since he keeps wandering off following the sounds of music he is often late for work, which happens enough times that his boss threatens to fire him if he lets it happen too often.
Like many Iranian films and Italian neorealist films The Silence is a film about working class people whose lives are affected by the bigger political and economic world around them. The overall feeling is a bittersweet one. However, is anything but dull or normal. Makhmalbaf adds a lot of elements to the film and uses many unique visual and aural juxtapositions, which make the film ultimately more poetic than prosaic. Most particularly Khorshid has a fondness for Beethoven's fifth symphony, which we hear a lot. He hears it in his head, he quotes it everywhere he goes and he hears it in the regular street sounds as well as the banging of pots and pans around him.
The Silence is a curious film because the story it tells is metaphorical. As the film continues Khorshid's musical world comes to life and even though he cannot see he manages to become the conductor of both his inner and outer world. His individual experience ultimately becomes more important than the physical world around him and despite the troubles around him his inner world takes over.