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Silent Song

2002
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Wandering Tulip Productions
Directed by Elida Shogt
VHS, color, 6 min.
High School - Adult
Holocaust and Genocide Studies


Reviewed by Debra Mandel, Head, Media Center, Northeastern University Libraies, Boston, MA

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 


Elida’s film Silent Song can be used in a class with Zyklon Portrait to further explore the role that archival images play in recalling events and preserving history. In an even more searing tone than Zyklon Portrait, Ms. Schogt focuses most of our attention on the image of an 11 year old boy with an accordion, which she found at the US National Archives. She manipulates the boy's image by playing it in slow motion so we can penetrate his serious gaze as his hands move the instrument. The soundtrack includes somber drawn out accoridian notes. Ms. Shogt asks, “why this boy?” and explores how archival images are objects which separate us from the people who created them. Shogt’s own voice is tinged with anger and despair—she cannot come to peace with her pain. She confesses that she makes films about the Holocaust so that no one will forget, while acknowledging that genocide still occurs in daily life. She also tells us that her films will be preserved in Canada's archive, and “for a moment” she feels reassured.

Silent Song displays excellent filmmaking values. Both her films can be used separately or together to stimulate discussion and creative writing in both high school and college classes. Librarians and archivists will also appreciate the message of preservation, which this film extols.