An intense yet oddly impersonal attempt at staging Greek tragedy among a small circle of working-class characters.

The black sheep of a rural French family steals a rifle and stalks his more level-headed relatives in “The End of Silence,” an intense yet oddly impersonal attempt at staging Greek tragedy among a small circle of working-class characters. Writer-director Roland Edzard, who comes to cinema from a background in painting, approaches the project with grand impressionistic intentions, though the result feels little different from your standard pressure-cooker thriller, with only limited Euro arthouse play ahead.

Edzard seizes the evocative potential of his atmospheric setting — a dense, mist-shrouded outpost high in the Vosges mountains that only just manages to set pic apart. It is here that Jean (volatile non-pro Franck Falise) snaps, thrown out of the house by his family the same day he’s recruited for a hunting party by strangely paternal neighbor Nils (Thierry Fremont). Once Jean gets his hands on a gun, he’s liable to hurt somebody, though pic doesn’t draw the characters distinctly enough for us to care. Instead, Edzard expects auds to intuit the details of a long-kept secret with only body language and action as clues. Less silence, more explanation would have helped.

The End of Silence

France

Production

An Unlimited presentation in co-production with Poly-Son Post-Production, Glaerie Heine Art Contemporain, Les Films de l'Etranger, DOR Film, Swift Prods., with the support and participation of CNC, Region Alsace, Region Lorraine, Communaute Urbaine de Strasbourg, Region Ile-de-France. (International sales: Doc & Film Intl., Paris.) Produced by Philippe Avril. Directed, written by Roland Edzard.

Crew

Camera (color), Frederic Serve; editors, Thomas Marchand, Gisele Rapp-Meichler; music, Christine Ott Quartet; production designer, Olivier Meidinger; art director, Francois Jenny. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 14, 2011. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Franck Falise, Thierry Fremont, Maia Morgenstern, Carlo Brandt, Marianne Basler, Alexis Michalik, Anna Mihalcea, Oscar Wagner.

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