“When I was fifty six I went mute for ten days.” – Katherine Amesbury
‘The Silence After Life’ is a 70-minute experimental drama and a meditation on grief, spirituality, and the encompassing beauty of nature. In what is his debut as a film writer and director, Daniel Thomas Freeman – known for his music both as a solo artist and in Rameses III – crafts a captivating work of art.
The film stars Sally Mortemore (‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Game of Thrones’) as Katherine Amesbury, a lonely, fifty-something woman. After a horrific accident, Katherine begins to experience intense visions; she loses her voice and runs away from her home to live rough, surrounded by the beauty of the English woods.
The original soundtrack is more than mere accompaniment, providing a central role and acting almost as an invisible character in the absence of spoken language. Where words are left unspoken, the music speaks and acts as the main form of dialogue, and instead of reacting to or supporting an image on the screen, the score takes on a much more direct and visible role, so much so that it shimmers like a halo of effervescent sunlight, providing an almost unreal atmosphere, and hallucinations that are too good to be true. At other times, the score is elegant and reflective of English woodland, as fairies linger in secret areas and lush green leaves cover the ground, and the magical tone is highlighted by the strings. It’s a place of wonder and discovery, and it’s open for everyone to witness. Some pieces are expansive enough to provide real growth and opportunities for exploration. One becomes lost – gloriously lost – with Katherine.
Ranging from the rougher-edged sound of atonal music and then lengthening into more melodic and traditional pieces, it becomes clear that the music has endured much and, like Katherine, its longed-for peace of mind, body, and spirit has been hard-won. Her earlier struggle has paid off, and the music reaps the rewards. Using layers of electric violin, harp, percussion, electronics, organ, piano, and purposefully-misused sampled instruments, the score is able to understand and deepen Katherine’s world, adapting from time to time to fit in with her new and changing experiences. This original film soundtrack remasters the music from the film and also includes five additional tracks.