Film: In the Land of Silence and Darkness

I am positively and utterly speechless. I have too many thoughts rushing in my mind, and my heart is tugging. I am overcome with emotion after seeing these two short clips from German director Werner Herzog’s documentary, “In the Land of Silence and Darkness”.

In 1971, Herzog, a well known German director shot this documentary about Deaf Blindness, and one of the subjects of the film is a 22 year old boy afflicted with Down Syndrome as well as loss of hearing and sight. He struggles to communicate through raspberries and throwing the ball at himself. Truth be told, I thought this was some sick joke by the boys of Jackass or from a YouTube uber-addict who likes to get kicks out of imitating a severely-disabled person.

But when I saw the second video, I stopped snickering and admiring this boy’s acting skills. This is a real video, a documentary. Then I gasped and a tear rolled down my face when Vladimir holds the radio. I feel the very same way about music.

Now, I am very curious about this film and I fully intend to walk to Blockbuster as soon as possible to find a copy. I’m no Netflix member, what a tragedy.

View these videos. I’d really like to know what you thought. And if you’ve ever seen it/or plan on doing so?

Tactile love,





In the Land of the Silence and Darkness 




Source: alotlikelife at

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6 Responses to Film: In the Land of Silence and Darkness

  1. Very touching videos…. made me mad when I saw how they tried to take away the radio. Come on… why tease him with it? Let the guy have it, it’s all he has to enjoy since they didn’t give him a language. Hmph!

  2. SnoopyFreak02 says:

    yeah very touching video… wow… it makes me sad and angry… why did he never learn his language… Yes, lets he have the music which he really enjoys the most … How can he communicate with others when he needs to talk to anyone… it makes me mad.. They let him down and alone… and never taught him to learn language and to meet other deaf-blind people… damn sad..

  3. human says:

    This is very upsetting; now that its out in the open I wonder if there is a way to find out where this boy/man is and someone can come and assist his him and his parents. It’s very disturbing to see..


  4. LaRonda says:

    Very interesting. Was he acting? When you do see this clip in full, I would love to know more of it’s background. Do share with us. 🙂

    I loved his face when he felt the radio. You could see how intrigued he was. I’m glad to know they gave him other things to do. Hitting himself with the ball was hard to watch. In my experience, I’ve noticed that blind people do like stimulation. But the hitting of himself with the ball in the face was so harsh. This makes me wonder if he has autism…

    Thanks for sharing these clips and for continuing to enlighten the world about deaf-blindness.

    ~ LaRonda

  5. We need to raise Anne Sullivan from the grave and do the job. She handled Helen Keller’s abuses. I’m sure she can handle this guy’s abuses.

    On a serious note, what this guy needed is an individual who will do anything to penetrate the darkness of this man’s mind.


  6. R. Adams says:

    These brief scenes are part of an extraordinary documentary film (now over 30 years old) named, “the Land of Silence and Darkness” by Werner Herzog. Though (and I feel it is important to note these as we, as society, still find it important, even vital to denote this “as truth” or that “as false”) Herzog has a tendancy to have his subjects read dialouge that he had written himself (Herzog’s personal search for truth often contradicts what we’ve been taught about the “objective documentary”), still this film has moments of utter and astonishing power, as Herzog (I believe) is provoked forward by an incautious curiousity, not sated by the materialism of the adult world.

    This is the most difficult scene in the film (my opinion). In a way, I dislike that it has been taken out of the context of the film (in a film about a very extreme viewpoint – the isolationism of the deaf/blind, and Herzog’s subsequent search for the human soul permeating, and budding breathtaking, outside of this dark aura of stolen ability – this is the most heartrending of the scenes). Still, I am glad that it has touched many of you.

    And even deeper than deaf-blindness, it is a film about loneliness. It is an amazing experience this film, and yes, it may infuriate you (Herzog’s lack of self-consciousness will do this) but most importantly, it will challange you. And yes, there is no way to fake that scene, its pure humanity. Search this film out, share it.

    The main character Elsa Fehrer has dedicated her professional life (and poured much of her being into it) to searching out those who were born, or developed this barrier – she herself, being “Deaf/Blind,” it is stunning to see the extent to which she is able to perceive the world around her. As she sought to pull others out of this personal abyss, so does Herzog seek (going along with her on her journey throughout Germany) to define this abyss, uncover its horror, and yes, the ultimate beauty that existence can be.

    There are so many faces in this film.

    Thank ya’ll for your inclusion of this clip on your site (I look forward to exploring it). Prayers for your journey and your deeds.

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