Holding Your Tongue: The New Language of Silence
Keywordssilence, language acquisition, mimetic relation, glorification, Bergman
AbstractIngmar Bergman’s middle years – from the late 1950s to the early 1970s – were a period of great creativity, but also of irreparable destruction on a private and artistic level. This paper takes stock of a film immediately preceding his great international breakthrough (with Persona in 1966), namely The Silence (1962). Rendering, in Bergman’s own words, ‘God’s silence’, the film also thematises absence, wordlessness, and the void in at least three additional senses: showing a child’s entry into the Symbolic Order, The Silence demonstrates the absence that is constitutive of this passage; giving an account of a specific relation between a master and his apprentice, the film shows a concrete example of the wordlessness at the core of their communication. Moreover, as an attempt to seek out the paternal figure, the film demonstrates the necessary void at the core of the new order – a community governed by silent praise.
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