Director: Federico Hidalgo
By now, everyone is aware that the Internet is an increasingly popular place to search for mates with sites popping up by the day, promising users love and companionship for life based on “scientific testing." In addition, no doubt we’ve all heard both horror and success stories of cyber love. Director Federico Hidalgo takes online matching a step further in his tale about Norman Green (Noel Burton), a lonely film professor who finds a young, beautiful Mexican bride online and then invites her and her mother to live with him in his Canadian home. Once the women arrive in Canada, we become instantly aware that it’s a less than perfect match, made even more difficult by the culture and language barriers between Norman and wife Gladys. Add Norman’s increasing attraction to Gladys’s more age appropriate and emotionally compatible mother (beautifully played by Susana Salazar) and you have the makings of a beautiful, subtle love story and cinematic essay on loneliness and companionship. It’s fitting that Norman teaches silent film, for Hidalgo’s work at times operates silently—two completely different languages shared under the same roof invite many questions and miscommunications and at times the action is the only thing that matters—canceling out the overly polite and self-conscious speech between strangers. There’s a lovely moment when Norman screens a silent movie at home for his students and new family—as the rest of the room watches the flicker of the film, Norman’s eyes fall to the mother (and film buffs can verify that movie theatre light always makes things more romantic indeed). The couple’s dancing around the issue of a budding attraction with subtle clues makes the film's title resonate all the more as we discover a silent love growing like a delicate flower (or an even more delicate piece of old celluloid) in Norman’s home. A beautiful film to behold-- it may be a bit difficult to track down but I'm happy to report that it is available from Netflix.