Real women who’ve survived domestic violence are giving their voices to scenes from silent movies where female characters are being abused by men, in support of a Romanian domestic violence charity. In Unquiet Voices, a 40-minute film created by Cheil Centrade on behalf of Romanian charity ANAIS, scenes from seven different silent films are intertwined with narratives of romances that became nightmares for women.
It is estimated that every 30 seconds, a Romanian woman becomes a victim of domestic abuse, but very few are empowered talk about their experience. The idea of Unquiet Voices is to reveal the almost unnoticed portrayal of violence against women in films and how men copy this wrong behaviour in real life.
ANAIS, which supports domestic violence victims, wanted to undo the wrong. With the loss of copyright of dozens of these silent movies on January 1 2019, ANAIS wondered if they could be turned into an empowering cinematographic product for the next generation.
The real-life stories brought to life in the movie show different types of abuse, from psychological to economic, sexual, and even attempted murder. The movie talks about physically assaulted women who are left breathless on the floor, men who should be in jail but are walking freely, and children witnessing tragedies.
The footage from each movie chapter was taken from seven different silent movies, then rearranged to fit the real stories of victims, whose voices are recorded over the footage to finally unsilence every violent scene.
Ioana Zamfir, creative director, Cheil Centrade, said: “The film industry has to promote the right values and it’s a shame that old movies had to actually lose their copyright in order for women to hope to regain theirs. But we hope it won’t take another 100 years for us to support victims of domestic abuse, as a society. I believe that, through a simple but incredibly moving voice dub, we created an empowering entertainment product that can shape the next generation of women for the better.”
The campaign launches with an online platform where women can watch the full stories and record their own story of abuse. It is being screened in cinemas across Romania, projected in art galleries and introduced as educational material in schools, colleges and even in the Romanian law courts. Together with an inspirational purpose in mind, Unquiet Voices also aims to raise funds to help keep the only shelter for domestic violence victims in Romania open.
Carmen Nemes, president, Anais Association, said: “The first step in recovering from abuse is to actually talk about it. These are stories of brave women who dared for their words to speak loud and to move us all. We hope more women going through similar situations will follow. We also hope that the campaign will raise the funds we need to help and support them going forward.”
The films used in the campaign were:
A Woman of Paris, directed by Charlie Chaplin (1923)
Our Hospitality, directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone (1923)
Flaming Youth, directed by John Francis Dillon (1923)
Safety Last!, directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor (1923)
Souls for Sale, directed by Rupert Hughes (1923)
Where the North Begins, directed by Chester M. Franklin (1923)
Scaramouche, directed by Rex Ingram (1923)
Creative Agency: Cheil Centrade
Creative Director: Ioana Zamfir
COO: Mona Opran (South East Europe)
Group Creative Director: Adina Stanescu, Roxana Nita
Head of Production: Monica Garbur (AV Production)
Account Director: Ileana Ghita
Head of Digital: Paula Stan (Digital Development)
Art Director: Ioana Mischie