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French Version

Cinerama : Silence of the Lambs

Nothing is more interesting than sitting in a bus and listen to the backdrop of conversations taking place in the midst of a crowd. For years, this has been one of the things I enjoy doing every morning, for there conversations would range from the banal to the bizarre, from the everyday to the unique insights of a mind much different from our own.

In one corner of the bus, near the window, a girl reciting in a low voice the verses of a poem in preparation for her exam and standing next to her a man like many others with his hand firmly grasping the iron bar to stay balanced.

The manís silence gave the impression that he was contemplating life, while in the far end of the bus schoolboys were talking loudly about the best hair styling gel that the elegant man needs, go figure!

Yet the most interesting of all were a conversation between two apparently young men, discussing a documentary about predators they watched on the Discovery Channel.

They were chatting about animals like lions, alligators and big white sharks; do you know that the latter can split a man in a single bite. Isnít it scary? Makes you think twice before taking a dive in the sea. Which brought to my mind the next question "Whoís the perfect predator and I mean the kingpin of carnivorous beasts that roams the face of the earth?

All you have to do is take a look into the mirror and voila` youíll see it, hiding deeply under that innocent visage waiting to be unleashed and devour the first thing that it encounters. Shockingly, my dear reader, itís us "Humans."

Man is the modern beast of the 22scn century who uses a fork and a knife to feast on his prey. I mean a lion hunts and kills his victim with his claws and teeth; while we humans simply shoot the poor thing and turn it to a burger served with ketchup.

Sometimes due to a psychological malfunction man decides to hunt his fellows and inflect upon them the most horrible unimaginable things.

Through out history there were cases of Cannibalism, Sadism and serial murders, atrocious deeds committed by the hands of people like Jack the Ripper, the Marquis De Sade and Prince Vlad Tepes of Romania who inspired the Dracula myth. All those persons liked to kill and inflect pain and misery on others to gain pleasure from it.

In 1991 the world was introduced to Dr Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist with the habit of having people for dinner, in the literal sense.

This genius fiend is non-other than the lead character in Silence of the Lambs, the cinematic adaptation of Thomas Harrisí controversial novel that was directed by Jonathan Demme.

The film starred Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn and Ted Levine as James Gumb.

The story is about a serial killer, Buffalo Bill, whoís known for skinning female victims. Suffering from a psychotic complexity, the killer lives with the obsession of becoming a woman, which explains why females are his only victims.

The case is assigned to FBI agent Clarice Starling (Foster) who is advised by her boss Jack Crawford (Glenn) to seek the help of Lecter (Hopkins), a task in which Clarice will undergo a trip to the past and the future as she follows Lecterís ambiguous clues.

Hopkinsí performance, earned him an Oscar, was outstanding and realistic to a degree that he made us really believe that he is Lecter, whether by the use of his voice, the movement of his nostrils as he breathes or the way he stares right at a person trying to get into his mind.

Silence of the Lambs runs for 118 minutes and is one of the best horror films that actually has a plot. The most memorable moments in the film is when Lecter asks Clarice about her worst childhood memories. Clarice tries to avoid answering by telling him that there isnít much time, however, after moments of hesitation, Clarice begins to tell him about the ranch that she has been sent to after her fatherís death.

In a flashback we see 10-year-old Clarice in the ranch, as sheís stealthily watching men come and go into the barn carrying squirming bags. While she enters the barn she sees those men slaughtering the baby lambs that are screaming like children.

After telling him what happened, Lecter says, "You still wake up sometimes, donít you? Wake up in the dark, with the lambs screaming." Clarice answers him in a shivering voice that she does.

In the end, I bet we all have memories hidden deep in our souls that haunt us forever!

Mike Derderian
The Star

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