Someone once told me that every generation has the impression that it is living in end times. I could have done without their patronising tone—after all, the apocalypse can feel disconcertingly close at times—but I could see their point.
We don’t have a monopoly on catastrophe: History is full of it. That message is illustrated neatly in Dominic Dromgoole’s Making Noise Quietly. The film poses these questions: How do different people experience war, and how do they carry that experience with them, after the fact?
Three conversations take place, plucked from three different decades, but with a wartime thread running through each one. A conscientious objector (Luke Thompson) and an injured gay man (Matthew Tennyson) discuss life as civilians during the conflict.
Then a woman from a military family hears news of her son during the Falklands war. Finally, a former soldier who is struggling to look after his son is taken in by a woman living in The Black Forest, Germany during the 1990s.
Making Noise Quietly is Dromgoole’s first feature, following a lengthy run of Shakespeare Shorts, which makes sense, because it started life as a play. The cast includes familiar faces from British TV: Barbara Marten, Deborah Findlay—both outstanding performances—as well as Joanne Howarth and Pauline McLynn.
Each is a conversation between strangers, so the characters navigate their encounters tentatively. They test the water, and find themselves becoming angry, obstinate, vulnerable. Emotions shift rapidly, with each person feeling the need to justify their position.
Social media gets a bad rap when it comes to the polarisation of politics and society, but as Making Noise Quietly shows, the pendulum continues to swing over time. Twitter is the facilitator, not the cause.
Making Noise Quietly presents conversations between people with different viewpoints. Not opposite, just different. Each conversation is difficult but necessary. It does not make for comfortable viewing, but then these are not comfortable times.
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