A man lives in isolation with his wife and four daughters in the snow-covered Swiss mountains. Catholicism and the belief in old legends permeate everyday life in their lonely mountain cabin. When the man dies in an accident, the women fall into a kind of hibernation and fantastic mythical characters come to life. Winter Silence seems to be a film out of time. But the mother and her nearly grown daughters create their very own presence by means of a strictly ritualized daily routine. The camera captures them in stylised tableaux and choreographs harmonious gestures and movements: saying the rosary together, brushing each other’s long hair and pinning it up into severe braids, rhythmically stitching in front of the warm fire. The film also plays with symbols and signs pointing to the impending end of this community of women. A knowing owl appears in the bedroom window, masked men wearing antlers come to the cabin at night, and a colorfully dressed figure wanders through the snow. We sense that the young women will soon leave the farm and seek out the rhythm of a life of their owns.
by Sonja Wyss
with Gerda Zangger, Sandra Utzinger, Brigitta Weber, Katalin Liptak, Sarah Bühlmann
Netherlands / Switzerland 2008