LA VOZ DE LOS SILENCIADOS (VOICE OF THE VOICELESS)
Written and Directed by Maximon Monihan
Starring Janeva Adena Calderon Zentz
Taken from an apparent real life case that was solved by the NYPD, VOICE OF THE VOICELESS follows a young Deaf girl as she is taken away from her home somewhere in Latin America under the promise of being enrolled in a Christian school for the Deaf in the United States. Upon landing in NYC she is quickly brought into a house with a group of other Deaf youth, stripped of her clothes and personal belongings and locked in a cramped room in the basement. Olga (Janeva Adena Calderon Zentz) finds herself in the middle of an underground slavery ring where she is forced to rely on the pity of the Hearing population and sell moist towelettes and claim the money is going towards her Christian education.
Silent and free of any audible dialogue, VOICE OF THE VOICELESS brings us into a world that is terrifying beyond imagination, the mere thought of what happens (and really did happen) brings not only chills to my spine but ignites something we should all be angry about. But the movie doesn’t ask us for pity, nor does it create too much sympathy for the main character until about 3/4 of the way through the film, when Olga decides that enough is enough. What happens is terrible, don’t get me wrong, it is just that director, Maximon Monihan, has chosen to use an hour of the film to repeat the same situations over and over, like beating a dead horse. The repetitive nature of the narrative becomes quickly tiresome and makes the film drag on, especially by the half way mark.
Zentz is quite believable as Olga, however it makes me wonder why an actual Deaf actor (and there are lots of them) wasn’t used, along with any sign language in the movie. But the lack of language and communication throughout the film does effectively convey the sense of isolation that the Deaf community goes though, and the story is an important one we should all know; the movie itself just suffers from its own shortcomings.
The film makes its North American premiere at @NXNE on Friday, June 13, at 6:00 PM, at the Bloor Cinema.