Silent Land review – chilly drama of retribution on idyllic Italian island

An affluent Polish couple, Adam (Dobromir Dymecki) and Anna (Agnieszka Zulewska), holiday in an Italian hilltop villa, insulated by electric gates and metal shutters from the world outside. But the world encroaches nonetheless – a migrant worker, hired to fix their pool, dies after a freak accident. Oblivious in their bubble of privilege, it doesn’t occur to Adam and Anna to do more than the bare minimum in the situation. It’s only during the subsequent police investigation that they realise they might have saved him.

This chilly, assured feature debut from Aga Woszczynska has something of the unflinching gaze of Michael Haneke at his most unforgiving. It’s a rigorous, inventively framed piece of work that uses eloquently textured sound design to explore a relationship breakdown. At the same time it’s an allegory for the European tendency to adopt a selective blindness when it comes to the suffering of others.