Episode 4 of Little America begins at a retreat as a young woman named Sylviane struggles to find inner-peace, stretching out while everyone else around her continues meditating. After slapping a fly and killing it, one of the women next to her begins sobbing.
As this silent episode progresses, our protagonist begins to experience hallucinations, eventually sitting next to the others during lunch. She doesn’t fit in and tries her best to communicate with those around her but to no avail. The leader is given a note that reads “she’s spoiling it for everyone” but she’s allowed to continue the retreat, heading to bed that night and looking through a book called Kon-Tiki.
A man arrives at the retreat and comically makes a zipping motion across his lips as Sylviane looks at the man and envisions him as the fearless sea captain from her book. Sneaking away from the group, she heads into her car alone and listens to music before we learn the guy’s name is Jack, as he approaches her and introduces himself silently through the window.
She and Jack begin to grow closer and after being thrown out of meditation for giggling, leading to her kicking him in the face by accident, prompting him to nurse a bleeding nose. Eventually, Jack and Sylviane head off together to the shop and buy a whole stack of food before sitting in her car and listening to music silently. As they stare at one another, we receive a silent montage of the two growing up in the future, fighting and with two kids together. Unable to see anymore of these painful visions, Sylviane rushes through the forest and back to the retreat where the leader chimes the bell and tells them that the silence is over and they’re free to talk.
Only it turns out Sylviane is actually French and as she speaks to Jack in her native tongue, she spills her experiences to him and it’s only here we see the importance of silence and how well the episode has subverted expectations to hide this from us. As we see in the post-credit scene, Sylviane came to visit Jack and the two ended up married for 22 years.
By far one of the strongest episodes of the anthology, Little America does a brilliant job depicting that age old adage “Actions speak louder than words”. It’s a wonderful message and one that’s brought to life in a really comical and clever manner. There’s a great balance of humour and drama here, and seeing both Jack and Sylviane growing closer together just through their actions is a beautiful piece of film-making and something that makes this one of the best episodes of the series.
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