'Five writers, who had to escape their countries because they were threatened, tell us about a violent, absurd, and unjust world and share their intimate perceptions of writing and exile. These men and women, forced to depart in search of freedom of speech, embody the power of literature and the spirit of resistance today.'
ICORN and Shahrazad-stories for life are proud to present the world premiere of filmmaker Marion Stalens' latest work, 'Silence or Exile,' at the Skandia biografen on 10 May 2012 as part of the ICORN General Assembly series of events in Stockholm. The film takes an intimate look into the lives of five exiled writers as they have had essentially to start over in their new host countries. Four out of the five writers profiled in the documentary have strong ties to the ICORN network and two of the artists, Philo Ikonya and Mana Neyestani, are current guest writers in Oslo and Paris, respectively. The other writers include Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador/Iowa City), Svetlana Alexievitch (Belarus/Stockholm), and Ma Jian (China/London).
Stalens explains what motivated her to undertake the film:
At a time when the debate on receiving exiles embroils France, and the entire Western world, the film sets the stage for writers to tell us, from the inside, what it means to be in exile” and how they perceive us, we who receive them.
By observing these exiled writers, relentlessly free, embodied by an extraordinary vitality, enlightened by a distanced vision all the while deeply connected to their culture of origin, we are able to understand what an immense opportunity being able to receive them actually is...
...Though firstly submerged in the murky waters of dictatorship, then ripped from their contexts and thrown into exile, these writers continue their work. They observe and translate their characters’ inner movements and approach them through the most intimate, and therefore the most universal, parts of the human being. They work themselves to the bone. Their works, inspired by man’s worst, unveil the frailty and brittleness of humanity when we are subjected to the pressures of fear or are inebriated with power. Thanks to their widened perception, these writers aim to pierce false pretence in order to enable us to see man stripped naked.
Their art speaks of us, and of the banality of evil, as misuse of power largely exceeds the borders of dictatorships and involves the very core of human relations. With tremendous lucidity, their eyes reveal to us that the worst is lurking and thriving omnipresent...
...Throughout the film, the writers' singular and solitary stories respond to each other. A profound feeling of brotherhood is woven beyond that singularity; the viewers find themselves both witnesses and doers through their own eyes.
Frittord is also an external sponsor of the premiere.
Marion Stalens has been a photographer for the last 20 years. Her images are published in newspapers and magazines, in France as well as abroad. They have also been shown in numberous exhibitions. Since 2001, Stalens has also been making films. Her projects tackle the art world as well as social topics where the common denominator is a reflection upon our shared living. Her works include 'Juliette Binoche: Sketches for a Portrait' (2009); 'Invitation to Leave France' (2007); and 'The Reconciliation,' (2004), which documents life in South Africa a decade after Apartheid's end.