Premiering at London’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2022 is Anna Konik’s self-described ‘art documentary’, Silence Heard Loud. Konik’s film gives voice to seven people living in the UK as asylum seekers. Konik describes the editing of the seven stories as a ‘kaleidoscopic patchwork’, a phrase which perfectly describes both the style and tone of the film.

The opening shot places the viewer just outside an airy room in which a reading group is taking place. Over the course of the scene, the camera inches closer. It’s as if the audience are being cautiously invited into the narrative taking place. This slow, careful approach is reflected throughout Konik’s film, which is gently paced and beautifully shot.

Silence Heard Loud, as suggested by its title, offers voices to those silenced by their migrant status, and it does so not in the form of a polemic so much as a poem. The cinematography, with long, slow shots and extreme close-ups, offers a tactile, visceral mode of storytelling. By interlacing each contributor’s story, the film emphasises the tragic ubiquity of their narratives. These are stories of wrestling with the tyranny of the Home Office; of the effort of integration into a racist society; of the loss of ancestral values. Repeated imagery of transport and travel highlight its themes of labour, movement, and displacement. While its deliberate experimental style is well executed, there’s an urgency to these themes that seems to slips beneath the film’s radar, ultimately leaving it feeling slightly less impactful than the sum of its parts.

An experimental, poetic journey, Silence Heard Loud explores the lack of access to human freedoms and dignity experienced by asylum seekers. While perhaps more abstract than its subject matter merits, Konik’s film gracefully opens a conversation around the plight of those seeking safety and freedom in the UK today.



DIRECTOR: Anna Konik

WRITER: Anna Konik

SYNOPSIS: Seven migrants to the UK tell stories of their histories, hopes and ambitions in this experimental documentary from Polish filmmaker and visual artist Anna Konik.