"The Art of Silence" by the writer-director Maurizius Staerkle Drux is about the famous mime artist Marcel Marceau who, as the tragicomic clown "Bip", still inspires people all over the world to this day. Iconic: the white striped shirt, the white face and the battered silk hat with the red flower. However, the tragic background behind his art remained hidden for a long time. His Jewish father was murdered in Auschwitz, which led to Marceau joining the Résistance. With his cousin Georges Loinger, he smuggled Jewish children across the border into Switzerland. Using gestures and mimes, he taught them not to speak in dangerous situations. Silence meant survival. Influenced by such silent film greats as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, he developed it into a unique art form after the war, which his heirs are continuing to perform to this day. With his facial expressions and just a few gestures, he expressed more hope, joy or pain than in many a Greek drama. A grand master of pantomime, Marcel Marceau portrayed the awkwardness of human beings and conveyed the unspeakable through "cries of silence". Director Maurizius Staerkle Drux’s documentary traces the legacy of this monumental artist, interweaving exclusive archive footage with a personal and contemporary perspective.
"The Art of Silence" was produced by Lichtblick Film- und Fernsehproduktion and Beauvoir Films (CH) and received 27,500 Euros distribution support from the Filmstiftung NRW. The Filmstiftung-backed production was released by W-film in German cinemas on 5 May.