The Quiet Room | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Quiet Room 

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The Quiet Room

If your parents didn't fight a lot when you were growing up, you might not get into this 1996 minimalist parable about a little girl who stops talking to hers. It takes a while to become engaged by the repetitious and simple narrative--at first things seem too obvious to be interesting. But a voice-over that's at once unrealistically precocious and amazingly true to the experience of being a young child takes you inside the mind of a girl who's become mute for both conscious and unconscious reasons--an enigmatic condition that demonstrates a paradox at the core of psychoanalytic interpretations of human behavior. As she interacts with her parents, who are alternately antagonistic to each other and to her, her internal monologue reveals the tension inside her: is she stubborn or crazy--and is there a difference? The movie's exploration of this question combines psychoanalysis with narrative forms to create a convincing character and a convincing argument. Written and directed by Rolf de Heer. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, May 30 through June 5. --Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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