Mass murder! It's a mass murder!”, one of the farmers questioned by Andreas Horvath cries out in desperation. At the beginning of 2001, the foot-and-mouth disease was headline news on television and in the press.
An ordinary investigative report would have compared the accounts of farmers with official announcements, analysing the chain of causes and effects, denouncing rumours or justifying suspicions of a plot. The Silence of Green, however, proposes an elegy, a requiem expressing the state of utter confusion of a disaster-stricken industry, making a political indictment in the form of a poetic essay. While a series of witness accounts from Yorkshire farmers are heard off-screen, Andreas Horvath depicts an idyllic English countryside marked by a heavy silence, as if a huge shroud now covered it.
Filmed in super 8, with sweeping pan shots, the film constantly reveals the gap that irremediably grows between the tragedy as it is described and the beauty of the shots and the countryside, reminiscent of paintings by John Constable. When the trembling images of the slaughters appear, emotion and horror seize the spectator.
On the way, Andreas Horvath composes a veritable liturgy in memory of these animals and farmers who, without anyone realising it, were sacrificed on the altar of a planned economy.
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