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The Silent Chaos

In North Kivu, Democratic Republic Of Congo, after a bloody civil war that lasted for years, Congolese society has lost its identity. However, archaic superstitions and magical beliefs are the only elements left which still bring the population together. These forces guide the defense of the territory led by Mai-Mai rebels, but they also make people consider those who are different as a threat, just like what happens to the deaf in Butembo. Those who have no voice and no hope keep struggling for their own dignity, not willing to resign to unhappiness.

Film notes

Te Silent Chaos was conceived as a documentary about one of the many ongoing silent wars in the world. However, the initial script has been changed after an unexpected encounter with some deaf guys in Butembo. It was impressive to see that among the population they were those with more yearn to communicate. From that moment it was clear that our way of describing the reality of that place would have changed. We finally found the starting point of the movie.
Te title of the documentary contains the interpretation of the whole movie; the contrast in it reflects the contradictions we've had to deal with in conducting our job there.
Te documentary not only reports the war, told by the people who experience it everyday, but also shows the condition of deaf community of Butembo within a society where the relationship with nature and archaism is still strong.
Archaism, superstition and magical beliefs make diversity seem like a threat, be it a handicap or an enemy at war. In fact, these elements also permeate the way to make war. Altough Mai-Mai rebels make war with modern weapons, they trust in a supernatural force, evoked by magical rituals, which makes them invulnerable at war.
In a society dominated by words, where speech is everything, people who can't hear and can't be heard have no reason to exist. Te condition of deaf people in Butembo is somehow a metaphore of the silent war suffered by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Contrasts and contradictions of Congolese society are shown not only by signs and by words but also by a preminent visual description characterized by strong antinomies (that matches with the personal narration.)
Te electronic music chosen as soundtrack describes perfectly the atmosphere of anxiety and resignation that can be perceived in North Kivu.
Te Silent Chaos is a documentary-testimony: it doesn't want to define causes or to put responsabilities down, but it wants to encourage the viewer to listen.
Antonio Spano'
deaf africa




Copyright © 2013 Spanò, Picciolo

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Previous screenings

28 Jun – 5 Jul | Ischia, Italy

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 3 Nov 2014