Many things are inflammable in Felix Inala’s Quiet; many things too palpable – stagger, gusto and scourge. As the curtains fall, Skull cringes with sensory implosions; yet, the many things compensate; for Mind is imbued by them, and, then – QUIET it goes. The moral mind is not deceived by Inala’s title. That story tag is never merely an aesthetic decimal, but the very equation, an exponential consequence of a 9-minute sequence; and it is not the cast that must embody it, but the audience!
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A debutant filmmaker hailed as the “Founder of Vision Pictures”, teeming with idealistic convictions, has both stirred a match against abduction and remained withdrawn. A bracing dose of horror delivers his message, and he didn’t have to co-opt the lofty menace of strange lands – for instance, protestant Moroccan bandits or a captured UN peacekeeper in Darfur. No. Inala’s choice is not lofty, but it is candid and familiar: an unknown night street. In fact, it is about an unknown girl who will face an unknown fate in the clutch of an unknown sociopath in an unknown place at an unknown time.
However, it is the genuineness of the unknown that suppurates the scenes, the unknown that wails in the universal truth which Ban Ki-moon considers applicable to all countries, cultures and communities – that violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable and never tolerable. At this point, Quiet attains a compelling thematic essence raised to a noble scale.
In his trademark act-trumps-talk narrative mode, Inala keeps a symbolic cast of characters off-cynosure. But his most astute, and distressing, move is to pair one conqueror of fear, a newly abducted girl of trenchant hope, with a scapegoat outcome – a ransom for bravery in the sordid face of disgrace. For the average individual, the search for a specific motif – albeit later indicated – is, thus, rendered speculative: is it a concession for gender vulnerability, or a dissenting account? Is it about the power of – or need for – feminine determinism, or the futility of it? Is this story postulating something, or discarding the postulated? Does it have an opinion about the issue it dramatizes, or is it in search of one?
Not necessarily Inala himself – we do not know enough of him, compositionally dissected – but such creatives exist in numbers, whose intentions are convoluted. Despite the absence of tangible poetic justice, one is compelled to concede, paradoxically, a basic, tragic conviction to the enabling paradox of a society’s immoral realities – senile witnesses of abduction – a conviction in the belief of the inviolability of evil.
If this short film is bent on “evoking pity and fear”, as is remindful of the Aristotelian tragedy (which must imitate an action, complete and of serious magnitude); it has succeeded, in spite of limp camera angles and severe scenic incongruities. If this is the intended mainstay of a nascent Inalatude – to, without dishonesties, recollect the bitter truths of an insensitive criminal culture – we are yet to witness another more contemporary wave from the tides of the Judith Audus and Chris Odehs!
WATCH: Quiet by Felix Inala