Updated: Jul 14, 2020
Directed and Produced by David Braddon-Mitchell
Reviewed by S. Fichten for Time In
This is a thoughtful, though overly cerebral, film about the ways in which dominant groups silence those with less power, and the ways they use language to do so.
The film depicts a world divided into the economically and socially powerful Salamists, and the less power Non-salamists.
The Salamists are charcuterie fetishists, which is a quaint addition to the film but otherwise plays no role in the plot. This film, which is sadly devoid of much character development or heart, explores what we can say, how it is assessed, and by whom.
The Non-salamists contend that there is somewhere, The Past, at which Non-salamists are being treated very badly by the Salamists. They want reparations for these harms.
The Salamists demur, claiming that although the Non-salamists were treated badly, this is not because The Past is some way, where the Non-salamists are being treated badly. What’s done is done, say the Salamists. There are no wrongs being perpetrated in The Past.
The Non-salamists respond that they are being silenced by the Salamists, who are trying to make it impossible to say what they want to say, by introducing “Salamist Semantics” in which claims about The Past are always assessed when The Past is in fact The Present.
As the protagonist, a Non-salamist, declares towards the end of the film “you cannot eradicate poverty by introducing a ‘Rich Semantics” in which “I have no money” is always assessed at the context of a rich person, regardless of who utters it.”
Ultimately, this is a film about relative power and the silencing of vulnerable people. It’s a very abstract film, but for all that it is enjoyable. Three stars.