Silence of the Sea

Director: Vahid Mousaian
Screenwriters: Vahid Mousaian

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


The modern world is awash with individuals who have had to leave their homeland. The reasons why don't matter as much as the loss, the separation, which haunts their entire being. So it is with Siavash, who left Iran illegally years ago to live in Sweden with his family and decides that he must return to his birthplace. When he can't get a visa due to his illegal departure, he seeks entry through a free port on one of the coastal islands, a place where you can come and go if you manage to avoid the authorities, but that's not easy. Indeed, this place is limbo in more ways than one.

This lyrical examination of an expatriate's quest is delicately conceived and sometimes narratively elusive and meandering. Filmmaker Vahid Mousaian describes being inspired by the dazed approach of a man he encountered on a trip with his eyes full of tears. He exists in a national neverland with a stateless identity that stifles the soul and makes a person neither resident nor foreigner. With its subtle style and poetic pace, Silence of the Sea explores one of today's existential nightmares, made even more melancholy by the empty intimacy of cell phones and the lonely feeling of never being able to reach the shore.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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