Films & Schedules

  • Unspoken

  • Fien Troch

97 minutes

Production Company:
Prime Time/ Versus Production
Antonino Lombardo
Fien Troch
Production Designer:
Fran├žois Lefebvre
Frank van den Eeden
Ludo Troch
Frank Struys
Peter van Laerhoven
Principal Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Bruno Todeschini

International Sales Agent:
The Works International

Friday September 0509:00PM JACKMAN HALL - AGO Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0701:15PM AMC 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1209:15PM VARSITY 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

When something truly heartbreaking happens in a family, the deepest response is often unspoken. In her mesmerizing follow-up to Someone Else's Happiness, Belgian director Fien Troch probes those inchoate emotions, seeking a visual language for the unsaid.

The truly sublime Emmanuelle Devos plays Grace, a woman still grappling with the disappearance of her daughter five years earlier. Her partner Lukas (Bruno Todeschini) is trapped in his own helpless grief; he and Grace have long since stopped communicating. Even the anonymous caller who regularly phones refuses to speak. As Grace confronts a series of small absurdities in her apartment building, Lukas finds himself unable to complete even the most pressing of daily tasks. When the family dog dies, he is powerless to act.

In Someone Else's Happiness, Troch explored how a small community reacts to the death of a child. In Unspoken, the outcome is less certain and so the journey even more nuanced. And for this film, Troch has developed an entirely new technique.

Shot with an imposingly intimate camera and edited by Troch's father, Ludo Troch, Unspoken both demands and rewards close attention. The director is alive to the smallest flicker of expression and the most telling moment of a gaze. Working with precise gradations of focus, Troch creates a world in which small gestures can explode with meaning. Approaching the same emotional landscape as Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours: Blue, Unspoken understands how deeply the imperceptible can resonate.

In an eerie scene late in the film, Grace welcomes a Christian proselytizer into her home. Only to this stranger can she confess her deepest feelings about her daughter's disappearance. After the desert of blocked communication that preceded it, this confession comes as a flood.

Cameron Bailey

Fien Troch graduated from the film programme at the Higher Institute Sint-Lukas Brussels. Her short films include Verbrande Aarde (98), Wooww (99), which won the Canal+ Award at the Kort Film Festival in Belgium, Maria (00) and Cool Sam and Sweet Suzie (02). She has also directed the features Someone Else's Happiness (05) and Unspoken (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award