The silent party, the review: the rape and revenge that makes no noise

The review of The Silent Party, an Argentine film directed by Diego Fried that stages a canonical rape and revenge, without particular flashes and a few too many problems.

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The Silent Party: Jazmìn Stuart in a scene from the film

Before going into ours review of The silent party it is good to make a necessary premise to put the film Argentine directed by Diego Fried. The rape and revenge it is a cinematographic sub-genre that, starting above all from the seventies onwards, has managed to make people talk about itself due not only to the explicit contents (which can vary according to the desire to shock and upset), but also to the themes proposed. In most cases it is a sub-genre that dialogues with horror cinema and with that of genre, showing a taste for violence which, over the years, has changed as has the sensitivity of the public. As often genre cinema manages to express, in addition to the surface there is the story of one zeitgeist which, although it may vary, remains. This is why a sub-genre like rape and revenge, which is often referred to as pure pornography of pain and vindictive pleasure, never ceases to be fertile ground for films that, at best, manage to find a very strong voice and not only be brave, but also perfect photographs of society (think of the very recent A Promising Woman, capable of winning an Oscar). It therefore appears almost a choice of fate that this strong voice cannot be heard in The Silent Party.

Bloody night

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The silent party: Jazmìn Stuart in an image

The plot of the film does not differ so much from the most classic of the canvases belonging to this sub-genre. It is the eve of the wedding for Laura and Dani who arrive at her father’s villa, where the ceremony and subsequent party will take place the next day. As often happens on the eve of an event that will change the lives of those directly involved, some accumulated tension, some fear for the great day kept suffocated is left released, giving rise to a stressful situation that involves the betrothed. At night, Laura, unable to sleep and relax, decides to vent her nervousness with a walk. He will arrive in another house, where a group of young people is busy having fun in a silent party, a party where music is listened to individually through the participants’ headphones. In this silent atmosphere, Laura lets herself be carried away by the atmosphere, to the point of being a victim of it. Back home in shock, together with her father and her partner, she decides to take revenge for the abuse she suffered.

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The least possible

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The silent party: Gastòn Cocchiarale in a scene from the film

The choice of director Diego Fried is almost against the tide with respect to the rest of the production of this sub-genre. Far from wanting to aestheticize violence, The silent party proceeds with very few dialogues and a rather dilated rhythm, designed to build an ever-increasing tension that, in the second part of the film, should definitely explode. Divided into two halves and far from the classic three-act structure, The Silent Party, however, fails to involve the viewer properly. The problems are found in a writing that on the one hand rests too much on the stereotypes of the genre, not giving any kind of surprise to the viewer who is able to foresee every narrative turn, and on the other on characters who do not show any kind of three-dimensionality, enough to create a general lack of interest in what they feel. The fairly bare staging, where the camera tries to compensate through a pleasant virtuosity (for example with a successful opening sequence shot), corresponds perfectly to the “silent party”: there are no sounds or noises, the violence takes place in a non-place, present and at the same time invisible, the perfect choice to describe how rapes and femicides take place almost wrapped in silence, but the film fails to give depth to the whole. It remains an unheard voice, as there were no headphones offered to perceive it.

The problem of violence

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The silent party: Esteban Bigliardi in a scene from the film

Where the film fails, however, is above all in the presence of violence and the roles of the characters. We don’t mean that rape and revenge, in order to work, has to somehow build popular entertainment, almost glam, more spectacular than it should be, but that the aesthetics of violence are an integral part of the story that is going to be told. It is somewhat disconcerting to find yourself in front of a film that in the second half is afraid of showing too much, not letting you perceive the vindictive anger of the protagonist and above all the consequences against the rapists (we are not making an ethical discourse on the use of violence, but every film genre has its own rules to work), but does not hold back in staging rape several times. A bloody-faced, screaming boy, leaving the rest of the violence off screen, is really too little compared to what happens to the woman. In the same way, the male supporting actors seem to take charge of the protagonist’s angry desire, imprisoning her in turn for most of the film in a room and, in fact, depriving her of the necessary outlet. Thus the film silences itself and a sufficiently heartfelt interpretation by the protagonist Jazmín Stuart is not enough to be able to reach the end credits in some way satisfied. Or even just hit.

Conclusions

We conclude our review of The silent party quite disappointed by the artistic choices of the director Diego Fried. The film is a rape and revenge that shuns the aesthetics of violence, preferring dilated rhythms and silences. So, however, the second part (the revenge) is not perceived in the least compared to the first: everything happens off screen, making the operation of the film lose its meaning. A convinced leading actress is not enough.

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Because we like it

  • Some virtuosity of the camera.
  • Jazmín Stuart is a convincing actress.

What’s wrong

  • By shunning violence in the second half, the film loses its meaning.
  • Too much importance to the first half in comparison to the second.
  • The canvas is really too classic and very predictable.

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