All Silent Dogs
‘I’m not the problem.’ (Ylva, All Silent Dogs, 2022, Australia)
Family secrets and her shape-shifting powers are complicating young Ylva’s life.
Her mysterious desire to hide gets teasingly unpacked. It’s a sci-fi curse and a blessing that she’s born with, but her family is not comfortable with any of it. Ylva fights with them over an operation they claim could fix her at the same time as she’s welcomed into a group of locals who reveal their kinship with her.
“I want a life that’s real, no matter how fractured it is. It’s mine.”
Any Deaf and Disabled person who’s been offered medical interventions to ‘fix’ them can relate to Ylva’s dilemmas about who she is and where she belongs.
All Silent Dogs has echoes of ABC-TV series Cleverman, and has similarities to Karul Project’s stage show Weredingo but here disability and difference, shame and pride are the key elements in Ylva’s battles for identity, self-determination and freedom.
This polished short is what can happen when a disabled filmmaker’s work is supported, funded and developed. Successful in securing a NSW Screenability grant, All Silent Dogs was inspired by writer/director Natalia Stawyskyj’s own struggles with sudden disability and the pressures to conform, whatever the costs. Beautifully performed, shot and edited, this Australian short film gets the star treatment. As director Natalia Stawyskyj says: “Endlessly watching masterclasses will never give the growth that comes from practising our artform.”
Will Ylva resist the normalisation procedures her own family, her doctors and society are trying to force on her?