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1. Silent: A first Impression
A first impression
The world is a loud place full of noise that is never noiseless. Whether it’s the ocean’s roar, the sound of the rain, crickets chirping, or the wind blowing, the world screams. Sometimes it screams too loud, yelling desperately for us to pay attention; from natural disasters to people in pain, we should heed the struggles happening around us.
Noise. There’s so much noise.
But what happens when that screaming world, the one always speaking, the one constantly trying to get our attention, truly goes quiet?
Starring actress Kawaguchi Haruna (Aoba Tsumugi) and actor Meguro Ren (Sakura Sou), the Japanese drama Silent explores what it means to lose the sounds you love, from the voices of those we care about to the music we love to listen to.
In an emotional blend of storytelling that weaves the past with the present, Silent centers on the developing romance between Aoba Tsumugi and Sakura Sou, their mutual appreciation of music, and the joy they find in each other’s voices. Their love carries them through high school, only to find them separating when Sou abruptly ends their relationship.
By interweaving beautiful cinematography with memorable music and distinctive characters, all portrayed brilliantly by the actors involved, Silent sets the stage for a poignant story about hearing loss and how it affects those with it and the people around them. And it does it using objects as much as it does people, often panning the camera toward the headphones that once connected Tsumugi and Sou as well as the music they shared.
While I am drawn to emotional storytelling and nostalgic filmmaking, Silent feels especially personal.
My grandmother was deaf. She lost her hearing in her teens. Before she passed away, she often talked to me about how the world changes when it goes silent and how things she thought she understood became things she now found hard to understand. Sounds, she once told me, are like teachers we want to get away from but then realize later we should have paid attention to. I would cover my ears, so I could live in silence with her. I would cover my ears so I could exist with her inside a world the two of us could share.
My grandmother never learned sign language. Instead, she read lips or had us write down what she couldn’t make out. She would talk to us, her voice either too loud or too low because she couldn’t discern the right volume, creating a rhythm that was uniquely hers. She was a fantastic storyteller, wise and empathetic, and I’d sit for hours listening to her weave tales, both fiction and real because inside her silent world, her stories were her comfort. And they also became mine.
Sometimes, even now, I cover my ears to join her in silence, a place where I can still feel her next to me, her presence much bigger than the world she couldn’t hear.
I was born many years after my grandmother lost her hearing, so I will never know the struggle she faced when it first left her. Seeing Sou’s pain in Silent as he struggles to accept the quiet world he lives in broke my heart.
In a jarring reunion scene between Tsumugi and Sou at the end of Episode 1, Sou frantically signs, releasing his frustrations and pain, to a tearful Tsumugi as she fights to understand what he’s trying to tell her. The differences between their worlds are stark and painful, inviting viewers into an upcoming journey about a noisy world that suddenly goes quiet and the love lost inside that transition.
I look forward to seeing where Silent takes me. It feels like a personal journey that will break my heart and fill me with understanding.
For interfans, check out Silent on Viki.