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SOFT & QUIET (2022, USA) – 8/10

Here we have another real little American indie pearl, a low-budget combination of thriller and drama more than horror that almost slipped under my radar. Beth de Araujo’s debut film had its premiere at the SXSW festival in Austin, and thanks to “Soft & Quiet” this young filmmaker was nominated for the discovery of the year when it comes to American independent film. De Araujo decided to present this shocking and disturbing story in real time, that is, the entire film was shot in one continuous frame. And it didn’t seem at first that “Soft & Quiet” would be a film that would particularly intrigue me. In the beginning, we follow the seemingly ordinary and average kindergarten teacher Emily (Stefanie Estes), a slim, blonde and attractive white woman in her forties, as she is the last to leave her workplace and go to meet her friends.

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Her insidious behavior towards the Latin cleaner in the introduction does not seem like anything important in those moments, but when after a few minutes Emily she arrives at the local parish office, where five or six colleagues are already waiting for her, and she takes out a pie with cherries decorated with a swastika from the bag, and then the alarm bell starts ringing. And in those moments, this masterfully shot film simply grabs the viewer as we realize that Emily is the lead in the female team called “Daughters of Aryan Unity”. My father was the president of the KKK in Nebraska, another blonde, pregnant to the teeth, brags modestly that she is not in the Klan, but that she is very active on neo-Nazi web platforms.

Even then it was clear to us that it was a group of women, of course white women, who are, to put it mildly, white supremacists. They feel threatened by blacks, Latinos, Asians, they are convinced that whites today are in a subordinate position in relation to other races and ethnicities and that this is completely unsustainable. All of them feel that they have to do something, and this circle is even more interesting because it brings together women from several spectrums of the extreme right. Some are more radical, some are still more calm and it seems that for some of them these meetings are a kind of mental – verbal masturbation. And already in those moments when we follow that meeting in which these seemingly average American white women, mostly some lower or lower middle class, many of whom are also mothers of several children, discuss and present their views on the state of society, it all seems frightening and disturbing.


However, a few of these women will, by chance, get the opportunity to move from words to actions, and that’s when the situation will completely get out of control. Everything they discussed, they will now apply in practice, and practically from the moment we see a cherry pie with a swastika, “Soft & Quiet” does not stop. This uneasy atmosphere is additionally influenced by the hand-held camera that constantly follows the characters, wiggles between them, and we have the impression that we are almost spying on these women as they throw racist slogans and then go into action. I guess this won’t be a movie to everyone’s taste, but I was impressed by this low-budget thriller even more than I expected, mostly because it all seems frighteningly real and realistic.

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