Stellet Licht - Silent Light
The black sky is covered with stars. When dawn comes, huge green prairies appear under its light. In a Scandinavian-style house a clock resounds. A family of nine eats breakfast under the sound of its pendulum. All have blue eyes and white skin. They are the Voth family, Mennonites from the northern part of Mexico that speak medieval Dutch. When the mother and her sons go to do their work, Johan, the father, rises and stops the pendulum. Silence becomes. He sits by the breakfast table and breaks into tears.
Johan rides in his van through the prosperous Mennonite fields. He doesn’t want to be late for his date with Marianne, a woman of an unusual beauty with whom he has fallen in love. They meet at the hill where they had agreed to, and kiss largely. Theirs is a passionate love but their behavior speaks of the presence of a natural purity in the relation.
When Johan and his wife Esther bathe their kids in the falls of the Mennonite valley they exchange looks. Esther sheds tears in silence. Johan has told her everything and now, together, they are fighting to save their love.
Two years have passed and one more goes by. Painful and confusing years. Johan talks to his father and to his friend Zacarias. His father encourages him to keep his word as well as the laws of the community and of God. Zacarias explains to Johan that there is no greater luck than to find the perfect woman, one’s own. Johan understands both of them but can’t solve his struggle: to sacrifice the woman that has loved so much or to sacrifice his true love, in other words, himself.
Johan keeps on seeing Marianne. The complicity is total and their surrender to love is limitless. In turn, Esther knows everything and her pain is unspeakable. Johan knows that his double life will end up destroying Esther, himself and Marianne. But the affection for his beloved is implacable and to be away from her is unbearable. In spite of the need, Johan and Marianne at last agree to end their relationship.
The Voth family recovers their peace. Esther and Johan go on a car trip. While talking, his relation with Marianne comes up. Johan says he hasn’t stopped loving her. He explains to Esther that he feels suffocated and that his obligation to himself and to God is to be with Marianne; if not, he won’t have anything to give to her, to his children or to anyone.
Esther asks Johan to stop the car because she has to vomit. Johan stops, Esther gets off the car and walks into the underbrush. In the middle of the woods Esther feels a pain in the chest. She lays on a tree and murmurs that she is cold. Then she lays down on the floor, puts her hands on her chest and dies in peace.
Johan gets off the car and discovers his wife’s body. He shakes her body trying to reanimate her. The pain is unbearable and he screams with pain and anger.
During Esther´s wake Marianne shows up. Johan, crying in front of her, tells her that it was her indecision that killed Esther whom he loved. He says he’ll do anything to bring time back. And that if he had a new chance, he wouldn’t be a coward. Marianne says that the only thing that can’t be done in life is to go back. Then she asks Johan to let her see Marianne before her burial.
Johan agrees. In the Mennonite tradition the wakes are held in a room apart so the deceased can rest in their coffin in a solitary place. Marianne visits Esther alone. She watches her, weeps, and tenderly caresses her. Then she approaches her face to kiss her. When she does, Esther comes back to life. Marianne, without been seen, leaves by the rear door.
A butterfly detaches from the wall and flutters all over Esther’s room. Crashes against a semi open window until it finds its way out. We follow her while over flying the field. Finally the butterfly lays her body on a tree trunk in the middle of the prairies where dawn came when the movie started. It grows dark. The sky becomes black and a hundred lights appear on it until there are stars all over.