Theo and Kurt are East German students who hold a two-minute silence in their school after watching chilling footage of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 during their visit to a cinema in West Berlin. The school administration comes down heavily on them, with the education minister asking the pupils to name their ringleader. The students now have to make a decision — to stand together or not. Screened at India Habitat Centre in Delhi and G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Mumbai earlier this month as part of The Indian Express Film Club screening, The Silent Revolution speaks of the power of silence.
Adapted from Dietrich Garstka’s eponymous book, German film director Lars Kraume’s film was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018 as part of the Berlinale Special Gala section. Spearheading the discussions around the film at The Indian Express Film Club, Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express film critic, said, “Silence can be complicit and dangerous but it can also be very powerful. This silence of the students changes their world and everything around them. We keep quiet in a lot of situations rather than saying anything silly. And sometimes we don’t know the value of keeping quiet.”
Anushree, who attended the screening in Mumbai, spoke about how she was impressed by the art direction and cinematography. Gupta said, “Germany is probably the only country in the world that revisits the Holocaust, Hitler and their history all the time. Every year, at least five or 10 films are made on the subject. We, as a country, don’t do that. We don’t look at the Partition or the Emergency because we are uncomfortable with the truth. The wounds are fresh so that, every time, one revisits these events, some healing happens.”
A participant in Delhi felt that the film dealt with the idea of brotherhood, friendship and kinship, and having the moral courage to do the right thing. She said, “Even when there is betrayal, there is a great sense of doing the right thing.” Bhavdeep, another member of the audience in Delhi, said that the film spoke about how vulnerable youngsters