REIGN OF SILENCE

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by Lukas Marxt

grade: 8.5

In Reign of Silence, the word is left exclusively to the images. There is no need for anything else, not even for redundant captions or music. Pure cinema. A directorial approach that is certainly extreme, but also incredibly mature and self-conscious. A directorial approach maintained by Lukas Marxt over the years.

Concentric circles

Keen observer of nature and the relationship between nature and human beings, the young director Lukas Marxt immediately made his mark on the Austrian and world film scene thanks to his respectful and contemplative directorial approach. A particularly mature approach that has made each of his short films and documentaries little, precious artworks. This is the case, for instance, with films such as Double Dawn (2014), Imperial Valley (2017) or Ralf’s Colors (2019), as well as with Reign of Silence, made in 2013, the director’s second short film.

Reign of Silence, then, shows us a very special reality. We are in the most unspoilt nature, near a small mountain lake. Everything is quiet. Then, suddenly, something unexpected happens. A motor boat enters the frame from the right. It positions itself in the middle of the lake and begins to turn in circles, drawing concentric circles on the lake surface. Once the drawing is finished, it slowly exits the frame, moving to the left.

Unspoilt nature and the presence of human beings. In Reign of Silence, also this singular relationship is staged. Here, too, we see how two totally different realities can coexist in harmony, creating something beautiful, something hypnotic and wonderfully perfect. Lukas Marxt, who has always been interested in the interaction between man and nature, shows us all this without wanting to formulate a precise theory. On the contrary, the director simply stops to observe silently and respectfully what is happening in front of his eyes and his camera. And he does all this with just one shot.

In Reign of Silence, the word is left exclusively to the images. There is no need for anything else, not even for redundant captions or music. Pure cinema. A directorial approach that is certainly extreme, but also incredibly mature and self-conscious. A directorial approach maintained by Lukas Marxt over the years, even when it came to shooting Ralf’s Colors, his first full-length film, where brief interviews and several locations were often unavoidably necessary. Yet even in this case, the director mantained his poetics.

Observing carefully his filmography and his very personal style, one cannot fail to be reminded of filmmakers such as James Benning (who also has a particular predilection for documentary cinema) or Michelangelo Frammartino (who, on the contrary, devoted himself mainly to fiction features). All of them, just like Marxt, prefer long silences to further enhance the power of the images. All of them proved in the course of their long and respectable careers to be particularly attentive to the special and often problematic relationship between nature and the human being itself. Lukas Marxt reminds us of each one of them and, at the same time, has successfully made totally personal films. And in this precious little Reign of Silence, one can already recognise important characteristics of his approach to the seventh art. A brief but intense short film to be watched with wonder and reverence, in order to enjoy all the emotions that an unexpected encounter can give us.

Original title: Reign of Silence
Directed by: Lukas Marxt
Country/years: Austria, Germany / 2013
Running time: 8’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Lukas Marxt
Cinematography: Lukas Marxt
Produced by: Lukas Marxt

Info: the page of Reign of Silence on the website of Lukas Marxt; the page of Reign of Silence on iMDb