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Movie Review: Silence, Ca Tue!

Filmmaker Christophe Lamot wearing a tuxedo

The megalomania of film directors is spoofed in the Belgian thriller Silence, Ça Tue!, directed by and starring Christophe Lamot. With no budget to speak of, Lamot declares in the opening that he is going to direct a “live” movie. In non-pretentious terms, that would be a documentary. But, the angry and overly pretentious Lamont — the character version of himself anyway — has plans to produce a radical piece of guerrilla cinema. And, like a good guerrilla, first he needs to buy a gun.

Although shot documentary-style, Silence, Ça Tue! doesn’t try to be a put on. It’s clear from the beginning that what we’re watching is a piece of fiction. However, Lamont does a terrific job of being true to his documentary structure and he never resorts to cheating the reality of his set-up in order to shoehorn in plot points. And he does employ some clever tricks, such as having himself and his film crew jump into a taxi and start playing a CD on the stereo so that he can have an opening credits sequence with a soundtrack.

The rest of the film is a jittery, tense rocket blasting through a 48-hour orgy of violence. Much of that tension comes from Lamot’s own smarmy, excitable performance. Like any good megalomaniac, he’s the center of the on-screen action for a good majority of the time. Always trying to appear cool, collected and in control of every moment, his darting eyes and seductive sneer betray the whirling dervish that’s spinning beneath the facade.

In addition to Lamot, the acting is uniformly excellent across the entire cast, which really helps pull off the documentary vibe. Each character — from the principals to the incidentals — is a fully well-rounded and developed person who behaves believably as each situation becomes more and more out-of-hand and as the bodies quite literally start to pile up. The only problem here, though, is that the real-life Lamot is also working with a minuscule budget just like his on-screen doppelganger. So, there are certain shortcuts taken with the violence that hold the film back slightly from fully delivering on its outrageous premise.

However, although the film is structured and plays out like a thriller, it’s primarily a dark comedy, so the shortcuts can be forgiven. Lamot isn’t really trying to sell the violence, but his commentary on the current state of Belgian cinema. But his message is somewhat baffling to those unfamiliar with the movie industry in Belgium. (Such as myself.) It appears that Lamot, the actual director, is criticizing those who are too critical of Belgium cinema. Lamot, the character, is completely unsympathetic, so none of his criticisms can be taken seriously. The most difficult thing is that the concluding punchline feels a bit out of sorts due to this lack of understanding.

Still, the on-screen Lamot is psychotically compelling enough to keep the film barreling along despite not knowing what he’s particularly aiming at. It’s not the target that holds Silence, Ça Tue!‘s particular fascination, but the bullet blasting its way towards it.

Watch the Silence, Ca Tue! trailer:


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