×

A Silent Love

Like last year's Sundance entry "A Foreign Affair," substantially Spanish-lingo Canadian pic "A Silent Love" offers a diverting spin on the mail-order-bride premise. Low-key nature coupled with older-skewing demographics won't overly entice distribs, but pic could find an appreciative audience among disenfranchised adult moviegoers.

With:
Gladys - Vanessa Bauche Norman - Noel Burton Fernanda - Susana Salazar Andre - Maka Kotto Ana Francisca - Regina Orozco Sr. Valdivia - Jorge Zarate Georgina - Carmen Salinas

Like last year’s Sundance entry “A Foreign Affair,” substantially Spanish-lingo Canadian pic “A Silent Love” offers a diverting spin on the mail-order-bride premise, making a charming feature debut for writer-director Federico Hidalgo and co-writer Paulina Robles (Hidalgo’s wife). Story of a middle-aged professor wedding a younger Mexican woman, only to find himself falling for the woman’s mother, pic largely plays down the ethnic stereotyping to deliver a carefully observed, fundamentally human roundelay about the wonders and horrors of looking for someone to love. Low-key nature coupled with older-skewing demographics won’t overly entice distribs, but pic could find an appreciative audience among disenfranchised adult moviegoers.

College film teacher Norman (Noel Burton) travels from Montreal to Mexico to meet Gladys (Vanessa Bauche), with whom he has been corresponding for some time via an Internet matchmaking Web site. Assured that computer models give their marriage “a 61% chance of success,” Gladys hesitatingly accepts Norman’s proposal. But before they can say “I do,” Gladys makes an impulsive demand: she will return with Norman to Canada only if he allows her to bring her widowed mother, Fernanda (Susana Salazar). Norman agrees.

Back in Montreal, Norman and Gladys find themselves struggling to re-create the intoxicating mood of their written correspondence — so much so that, at one point, Gladys asks Norman if he had help from somebody in writing his letters. Norman, meanwhile, begins to wonder if perhaps Gladys sees him only as a way to an eventual green card. But the real wrench in the works may be mom, much closer in age to Norman and, it turns out, a mature, intelligent beauty.

That could be the setup for a Hawks or Lubitsch farce (or, for that matter, a von Stroheim morality play — helmer’s “Foolish Wives” is quoted by Hidalgo throughout), but the filmmakers set their rhythms at a more subdued pace, resulting in contemplative scenes about the need for companionship and the enigmatic nature of love. Such moments manage to play as quite funny in a bittersweet way, like Paul Cox’s “Lonely Hearts” and “Man of Flowers” — rather than the slapstick the premise would seem to call for, a la “Something’s Gotta Give.”

The filmmakers have an utter respect for their characters, never forcing them into contrived situations. And the pleasure the mixed cast of Mexican and Canuck thesps take in being afforded such roles is nearly palpable. Vet stage and screen thesp Burton makes for a wonderfully against-type romantic lead, wrapped in the essential shyness of a man who has failed nearly as much in his love life as he has succeeded in his intellectual one. Bauche, who viewers will recognize from “Amores Perros,” radiates a crackling intelligence and south-of-the-border spunk. But pic is commanded by Salazar, who basks gloriously in one of those rare roles that allows an actress of “a certain age” to seem funny, sexy, vital and entirely unafraid to show a few wrinkles.

With the cinematographer Francois Dagenais, Hidalgo employs a handheld camera and natural lighting schemes to create an unfussy, lucid mise-en-scene, marked by a strong sense of how to arrange the actors within the frame.

A Silent Love

Canada

Production: An Atopia presentation. Produced by Pascal Maeder. Directed by Federico Hidalgo. Screenplay, Hidalgo, Paulina Robles.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16mm), Francois Dagenais; editor, Maxime Chalifoux; music, Robert Marcel Lepage; production designer, Gabriel Tsampalieros; art director, Carlos Salom; set decorator, Sylvain Paveau; costume designer, Maory Gastelo; sound (Dolby Digital), Andres Moreno, Francois Guerin; supervising sound editor, Michael Gurman; associate producers, Luc Dery, Benoit Chartrand; assistant director, Nathalie Goulet; casting, Brigitte Fleury, Myriam Anglade, Emmanuelle Beaugrand-Champagne, Chelsea McIsaac, Alejandro Caballero, Laura Trejo, Bernardo Avila. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema), Jan. 19, 2004. Running time: 100 MIN. (English, Spanish dialogue)

With: Gladys - Vanessa Bauche Norman - Noel Burton Fernanda - Susana Salazar Andre - Maka Kotto Ana Francisca - Regina Orozco Sr. Valdivia - Jorge Zarate Georgina - Carmen Salinas

More Film

  • Zoe Lister-Jones The Craft

    'The Craft' Remake Finds Director in Zoe-Lister Jones

    “Life in Pieces” star Zoe Lister-Jones will write and direct Sony Pictures’ remake of “The Craft” for Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment. Doug Wick, the producer of the original “The Craft,” will return in the same capacity along with partner Lucy Fisher through their Red Wagon banner. Jason Blum is also producing and his Blumhouse [...]

  • Carol Burnett

    Carol Burnett's Mother-Daughter Story 'Carrie and Me' in Development as a Movie

    Carol Burnett’s bestseller “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story” is in the works as a movie at Focus Features with Burnett, Tina Fey, Eric Gurian, and Steven Rogers producing. Burnett will produce through her Mabel Cat Productions with Fey and Gurian under their production banner Little Stranger along with Rogers (“I, Tonya”). The sibling [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Entertainment One, Universal to Partner on Home Entertainment

    Entertainment One and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-territory distribution agreement. UPHE will serve as the home entertainment distributor of eOne’s offerings across both physical and digital formats. The pact covers film, television, and select family content and includes all sales, marketing, and distribution, spanning the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, Australia, [...]

  • Will Smith Jada Pinkett Smith

    AFI, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation Launch Second Young Women in Film Intensive

    The AFI Conservatory and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation have partnered to launch the second annual Young Women in Film Intensive. The AFI Campus in Los Angeles will host 45 high school girls for an eight-week filmmaking workshop, where students will receive mentorship from current fellows and working professional alumni of the AFI [...]

  • Paul Davidson

    The Orchard Head Content Executive Paul Davidson Steps Down

    At the finish line of its sale to 1091 Media, distributor the Orchard’s film and TV head Paul Davidson is parting ways with the company. In an amicable split, the creative executive addressed staff in person and in a company-wide memo on Tuesday in New York City to inform them of his decision. More Reviews [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content