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"When there are gestures, words are not necessary," Novikova, a deaf actress, says."It isn't a necessity to have dialogue in film — everything is written on a face and all is visible in the movements.It was only 100 feet away, but it may as well have been another universe.
"The filming [of the abortion] lasted the whole day," Novikova says of the latter scene.
The main thing is human emotion — that's clear and understandable to any person in the world."Producer-cinematographer Valentyn Vasyanovych notes the "hypnotic effect" the story has had on viewers, both at home and on the festival circuit, where it's been racking up awards.
"When the audience does not hear speech, it is completely focused on the image and soon finds itself in a state of trance," he says.
"For every take, it was necessary for me to endure anew this pain, to cry, and give out the necessary emotion.
By the end, I was absolutely exhausted."But despite the film's frequent brutality, there's a near-balletic grace in the cast's hand and body movements — an homage, Slaboshpytskiy says, to the silent film stars of the early 20th century and the pantomime that influenced that era’s comedies.
"It looks like the childhood of the cinema," he says.