By George Kozera
SILENT VOICE is powerful Documentary about young people fleeing Chechnya due to its anti-gay policies and continued deadly violence toward the LBGTQ community. A must-see companion piece alongside last year’s searing “Welcome to Chechnya”, this Movie only focuses on one person.
Khavaj is a young Mixed Martial Arts fighter who was tormented ruthlessly by his own brother back home and now lives in Belgium, receiving support from a non-profit group and awaits to see if he will be granted asylum. His is a tragically lonely life with minimal interactions with other people. He is dissuaded from going to any gyms or practicing his fighting skills as he was relatively well-known in Russia and runs the risk of being recognized and captured. Though the audience never sees his face in the Movie, the pain of his solitude seeps through every pore and bone of his body. His current station in life is heartbreaking to watch. The heartbreak is compounded by the many messages left on his phone by his mother. At times tearful and at times masterfully manipulative, hearing her voice and words are agonizing.
Persecution is an ugly word. Being singled-out and besieged due to the colour of your skin or your religious beliefs or who you love is anathema to me. SILENT VOICE made me angry as well as broke my heart.
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