Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young woman struggles with her unusual relationship with her mother and father in this drama from Germany. Laura (Tatjana Trieb) is a bright young girl whose parents, Martin (Howie Seago) and Kai (Emmanuelle Laborit), are deaf and dumb. Living in a small town in Germany, where International Sign Language has long been frowned upon due to local superstitions, Martin and Kai have a great deal of difficulty communicating with others. However, Laura knows sign language as well as her parents, and she frequently acts as an interpreter between her parents and others, often missing school as a result (though when translating for her mother at a parent-teacher conference, Laura cleverly twists a poor evaluation in her favor). Laura is given a clarinet by her Aunt Clarissa (Sybille Canonica), but this inflames an old sibling rivalry in Martin, and he makes it clear to Laura that he does not approve of her study of music, a subject he cannot understand or take part in. Laura begins learning the instrument despite her father's wishes, and she soon develops a keen talent. Years later, teenaged Laura (now played by Sylvie Testud) is a gifted musician and is encouraged by her clarinet teacher to attend a conservatory in Berlin, where a scholarship can be arranged. Despite Martin's objections, Laura goes to Berlin with Kai's blessings. While studying in Berlin, Laura meets Tom (Hansa Czpionka), a young man who teaches hearing impaired children, and she finds herself enjoying both romance and independence for the first time. Sadly, Laura's good fortune goes south when tragedy strikes at home. Jenseits der Stille, released in the United States as Beyond Silence, received a 1997 Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Language film.
clarinet, deafness, family, handicap, independence, music