Sworn to a vow of silence, a group of nuns learns a heavenly lesson at the dinner table in Frank Schou’s short film, Artem Silendi. Ychou’s skill for comedy is on full display with this simple tale of courtesy and humility.
It’s dinner time for about seven nuns in a convent. Exercising a little patience, dinner has finally arrived in a moment of subtle hilarity (just watch the short). Fish is on the menu and after the more senior sisters have served themselves, the last two nuns are given a choice between a nice large fish and a scrawny, little one. Humility prevents the two sisters to choose the large fish…until one of them does. Of course, she takes the big one.
Left with the small fish, the last sister is annoyed, to say the least, and when the another wants salt, she loosens the cap, and salt covers the large piece of fish. This does not sit well with Mother Superior.
“Humility prevents the two sisters to choose the large fish…until one of them does.”
Artem Silendi packs quite a comedic punch in just under 8 minutes. First, it’s a simple, grounded story and stripped only to its barebones. No joke is wasted, nor extraneous ones added, either. Also, there’s no dialogue, every actor speaks through body language and facial expression, and you know exactly what is being said. Lastly, like all good comedies, we are treated to an escalating scale of tension and release. The story builds to a tense moment and uses humor to release that tension. And of course, an effective punch line to button the short.
Artem Silendi (2018) Directed by Frank Ychou. Written by Cécile Larripa, Philippe Pinel. Starring Catherine Hosmalin, Barbara Bolotner, Hélène Bougerole, Marie-Hélène Lentini, Pénélope-Rose Lévêque. Artem Silendi screened at the Opening Night Gala of the 2019 Palm Springs ShortFest.
8 out of 10 stars