Tuesday, December 6, 2022

«L’art du Silence» – the power of pantomime

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“I’m looking for noises that sound quiet,” says Maurizius Staerkle Drux (“The Böhms – Architecture of a Family”) The Swiss filmmaker grew up with a deaf father and in “L’Art du Silence” reflects part of his own life story. The pantomime Marcel Marceau appears in this – the director got to know the work of the world star early on and wanted to “look behind Bip’s mask”. That was the name of the clown from Alsace who has been touring all over the world for more than 40 years. With his L’Art du Silence, the art of silence, he has enchanted entire generations.

To the director’s credit, he slowly and carefully introduces the audience to the monstrosity of Bip’s life. In fact, Marcel Marceau’s career was partly based on a tragic background. Marceau’s father was deported towards the end of the war and killed in Auschwitz. During the Second World War he himself had to give up acting school for the time being and joined the French Resistance. With his cousin Georges Loinger, he smuggled Jewish children across the border into Switzerland several times. He taught them to literally keep still. The refugees learned to communicate with facial expressions and gestures, not to speak in dangerous situations. Pantomime ensured their survival.

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