“Unquiet Voices” is a 40-minute film split in chapters, in which 7 real victims of domestic violence broke the silence and give voice, for the first time in 100 years, to abused characters in silent movies. The real-life stories brought to life in the movie display different types of abuse, from psychological, to economic, sexual and even attempted murder. The movies talk about physically assaulted women who are left breathless on the floor, or husbands and concubines who should be in jail, but are walking freely, broken families and children witnessing tragedies. The images from each movie chapter are taken from 7 different silent movies, then rearranged to fit the victim’s real story. The victim’s voice is overlapped to finally unsilence every violent scene.
Every 30 seconds, a woman in Romania is the victim of some type of domestic violence. But only 1% of victims of domestic violence victims ask for help because the society judges them harshly. When it comes to domestic violence, most Romanians have very biased points of view, such as “women are always looking for it” or “it’s her fault, she’s not obedient” etc. But that should not surprise us. The world has a long history of closing its eyes to domestic violence. And several industries have been normalizing abuse towards women. If you look at the film industry, you cannot deny the crucial role it plays in education. We simply do what we see in the movies.
The wrong behavior seems to have been portrayed since the beginning though: silent films have been hiding scenes of abuse towards women under the mask of entertainment for almost 100 years. And we have been watching, but definitely not carefully. We’ve been having fun with the frail little women or the damsels in distress, while the characters themselves remained in the silence of these movies- much like how most victims are, to this day.
The strong insight that we had was that we, as a whole, are blind and also deaf to domestic violence. To prove this, we selected a high-impact piece of content - silent movies, forcing the viewers to see them as never before.
Key message was on the one side, inspiring other women to break the silence and on the other, urging people to listen to their “unquiet voices”.
Main target audience: women who have experienced any type of abuse. We have learned that they are urban or rural, of all ages and backgrounds. Second target audience was a larger urban audience, medium to high income, educated but not when it came to domestic violence.
Our approach was based on revelation- but also guilt. We made people look at scenes they’ve seen before, guided by the voices of very brave victims, and the emotional impact was huge.