Film tutto di sottintesi e non detti, quello della regista olandese Nanouk Leopold, in cui le immagini e lo svolgimento degli accadimenti conducono – secondo un ritmo dilatato, con uso centellinato di uno score delicatissimo – alla decodifica dei rapporti tra i caratteri in campo: Helmer, un agricoltore (che si divide tra il duro lavoro della fattoria e la cura dell’anziano padre malato e allettato), un suo compagno di lavoro (innamorato di lui, reitera invano l’approccio), la vicina di casa e le sue bambine (uniche varianti all’esistenza monotona dell’uomo). L’arrivo di un giovane aiutante è l’elemento che sconvolge gli equilibri, sorta di creatura angelicata che risveglia i sensi assopiti del protagonista e rompe le dinamiche sclerotizzate della casa. Il ragazzo gli si offre e, anche se viene rifiutato, fa sì che la porta ermeticamente chiusa del sentimento di Helmer si apra. Il giovane può lasciare la casa, riprendere il suo cammino, spiccare il volo, lasciare che il fattore, oramai trasfigurato, scopra finalmente amore e sesso.
Tutto imperniato sulla descrizione della quotidiana fatica, il lavoro, le incombenze del protagonista, It’s all so quiet è film sul cui ordito grava l’inestricato nodo del rapporto tra il padre e il figlio, che si intuisce tessuto di rancori e vecchie ferite. Lavorato su gesti e dettagli, al bando – come si è detto – di ogni superflua verbalità, è un’opera che riesce a non compiacersi del tema chiave dell’incomunicabilità dei protagonisti, sfruttando in maniera sempre efficace il prescelto registro minimale. (Luca Pacilio, spietati.it)
“I would not be surprised when many viewers nowadays will say that not much is happening in this film. There are a few notable events, spread evenly over the running time, mixed with long intervals of boring farming routine and domestic chores. Father and son don’t talk much. There are other dialogs, also limited to the bare essentials, with children from the neighborhood, the cattle merchant, the milk truck driver, and on some sparse social events. A woman living nearby brings an occasional cake, for all of us clearly with hidden intentions, but nothing comes out of it. Contrary to what would be a normal thing to do in a small community, people that come by are not asked to come inside for some coffee.
All of this tells us something, albeit not very outspoken. Notable quote from the father: “Why do you hate me so much?” From time to time we get some hints what could be the cause of their difficult relationship. It may have something to do with beatings when a child. This came up when Helmer talked about the hands of the farm help, being very different from the hands of his father that were only used for beating. On another occasion came about that Helmer’s brother Geert died young (drowned), and that Helmer assumed that the father felt being stuck with the wrong son (father seemed not to remember this, but the suggestion is very clear). In small bites we get to build the underlying picture, if only when we allow ourselves to pick up the pieces lying around.
The slow pace of the whole film nicely blends in with farm life as it is in reality, at least as it is for a dying breed of small scale farmers. I recognize this way of life from my own youth. The farm where I grew up, was sold by my father just before the time came to scale up the business, which was something he did not want to at his age. Farming at that time had its peak moments of course, like the harvest, but most of the year was a tedious daily routine. For me it was nice and quiet way to pass the day, something to plunge in when my parents were on a well deserved holiday. Such a small period of a few weeks was very well bearable to experience a life seemingly far away from the city. Life on a farm as portrayed in this film does remind me of those days, very well done I must say, luckily avoiding the rosy view mostly associated with country life.
The last conversation between father and son before his death seems to have more contents than the total of all earlier conversations they ever had, at least that is the impression left to us. This is the moment that much of what happened earlier comes together. It underlines in hindsight several things that went past us, allowing us afterwards to connect the dots. Is it a humane thing to do to us, viewers, to postpone this until the final scene? It is, if you allow this film a fair chance to tell the story the way it is told here.” (JvH48, IMDB)