Silent Sonata Review

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During an unnamed war in an unnamed country, a man emerges from his farmhouse to be greeting by a travelling circus requesting help for their ailing ringleader.


Dependent on imagery and gesture rather than dialogue, Janez Burger’s war story is a sparse, stylish parable fraught with symbolism. On a parched farm in the war-torn Balkans, a grieving family see their spirits lifted when a travelling circus pitches up. While there’s undeniable drama in Burger’s conflicting visual style, the life-goes-on message, delivered by a clown troop, smacks of absurdist kitsch. Admittedly, one man’s magic-realism is another’s arthouse wallpaper, but the title suggests a quiet power that isn’t there — heartfelt as it is, the whole piece fumes with firebreathing whimsy.

A Fellini-esque silent fable with tackles the horrors of war with a refreshing sense of the absurd.