Raindance Film Festival 2020 – My Thoughts Are Silent

The next on my list for Raindance is this quirky Ukrainian comedy-drama film written and directed by Antonio Lukich. Following sound engineer, Vadym (Andriy Lidagovskiy) who is tasked with recording the sound of a rare bird that can only be found in the mountains in Transcarparthia and embarks on this journey with his mother, Galia (Irma Vitovska-Vantsa). If he succeeds in doing this, he will be able to move to Canada where he will work for a huge gaming company as a sound engineer. Visually, the film is absurd, striking and really entertaining to watch. Making the most of the Ukrainian landscapes as Vadym and Galia journey across country, Lukich really thrives at making the ordinary seem extraordinary.

Lukich’s script is well-balanced between its comedy and drama. Never needing to veer into too dark a place, My Thoughts Are Silent shows the contradictions in the mother-son relationships and the differing expectations they have of themselves and each other. Initially, the plot centres around Vadym’s research into the rare bird, known as the “Fussy Mallard” and whether he will be able to record its voice but the film becomes much more than that. The voice that is important is Vadym’s creative voice and knowing what he wants to achieve in life as well as his mother’s wishes. It is a film about their fragmented relationship and them getting to know each other and piecing together the puzzle.

Andriy Lidagovskiy’s performance as Vadym is fantastic. Aspirational and creative, Vadym is headed for success in the gaming industry. His mother, Galia, is less impressed and would like to see him settled with children. The lengths Vadym goes to to capture the sounds of various animals for his game is hilarious with one incident requiring him to seduce an older woman so her parrot will chirp. Lidagovsky has great screen presence and really dives into Vadym’s determination to be creatively fulfilled. The idea of a settled life bores him and the adventure that ensues reflects that. Often donning ridiculous disguises to record the animals and be amongst them, Vadym isn’t bothered by the outward appearances. Lidagovsky’s performance brings an all rounded characterisation that is fantastically developed throughout the film.

In support we see Irma Vitovska-Vantsa as Galia, Vadym’s mother. A woman who refuses to let her age define her, Galia strives to find a partner and settle down. Constantly feeling unwanted and unloved, she urges Vadym to search for the love that she doesn’t have. This isn’t to say that Galia doesn’t have strength as a character. Her arc explores that she doesn’t need anyone else to define who she is. An avid fan of Victoria Beckham, we are introduced to her driving her taxi to pick Vadym up with the CD player blasting “Viva Forever” which I absolutely loved. Vitovska-Vantsa and Lidagovskiy have a striking relationship onscreen which feels authentic and raw. The ups and downs portrayed will resonate with any familiar conflict.

The music in the film composed by Sam Kuzel is a huge standout. The synthesised music juxtaposing with the natural noises that Vadym records makes for a great combination. The heavily synthesised pieces assist in elevating the absurdity of the film at times and lighten the dramatic moments. It’s a great rhythmic score that provides the heartbeat for the film. Vadym’s own creative musical aspirations are more in line with the electronic sounds than the animal noises in nature. He is inspired by the written notes of the Fussy Mallard in a museum and this becomes the driving force through the film.

What Lukich achieves in this film is portraying a normal family conflict in an overly eccentric way. Combining serious moments with touches of absurd comedy ensures that your attention is grasped at all times. My Thoughts Are Silent is captivating, beautifully shot and feature great comic performances, particularly its leads Ludagovsky and Vitovska-Vantsa.

My Thoughts Are Silent is showing at Raindance Film Festival.

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