The Hidden Face of Suicide



... a stark, deeply moving, honestly heartfelt documentary...

Toula Foscolos, The Monitor (August 2010)

In trying to understand that silence, Silverman created a touching film that raises awareness...

Anthony Bonaparte, The Suburban

...goes behind the veil of silence... and concludes that healing demands an end to silence…

John Griffin, The Gazette (August 27 2010)

It is an important message... that the community itself needs to embrace another way of thinking about the shame, stigma, and pain of suicide on those left behind…

Dr. Jaswant Guzder, Director, Centre for Child Development and Mental Health, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal

Suicide is a serious problem for adolescents and society. This sensitive and in-depth film is a perfect educational tool to raise awareness and stimulate productive audience discussion.

Dr. Franziska Baltzer, Director, Adolescent Medicine, Montreal Children's Hospital, Montreal, Quebec

The film, The Hidden Face of Suicide, by Yehudit Silverman, is one of the most powerful expressions of arts-based research and creative arts therapy I have ever seen. In a sensitive and creative way it tells the stories of those who have survived a loved one’s suicide and their unique pain and the burden of silence. The film is an outstanding example of how the arts have the power to transform, illuminate, and make connections otherwise not possible.

Patricia Leavy, author of the bestselling Method Meets Art: Arts-based Research Practice

“There is something so damaging, so profoundly hurtful, when we silence those who are suffering, when we turn away from their pain.”

In The Hidden Face of Suicide, filmmaker Yehudit Silverman enters the world of the survivors, those who have lost loved ones to suicide, and reveals their remarkable stories. At seventeen, Silverman learned by accident that her uncle, who died before she was born, had taken his own life yet no one had ever spoken about it. Looking for the story behind her parents’ silence, Silverman sets out on a journey of understanding and transformation.

Meeting with members from the group Family Survivors of Suicide, Silverman, a trained creative arts therapist, helps them find a unique way of expressing the unspeakable. They each make their own mask which serves as a therapeutic metaphor. With respect and compassion, the film explores the meaning they find in their masks. For Yehudit herself, as well as for the others, it is an essential key to healing.

Evoking the myth of Persephone, Silverman looks to these survivors as her guides, as she is called to the Underworld to confront the darkness in her own past. “The survivors helped me understand the danger of secrets. Through them I found the courage to break the silence in my own family”. The film culminates in a moving sequence with Yehudit speaking to her parents for the first time about what happened fifty years ago.

In this meditative and heartfelt film, Silverman explores the question of suicide with fresh eyes, originality and intelligence. Her journey reveals the complex shape of an issue hidden for far too long, and the terrible cost of silence.

ORIGINAL SONG: "Hold On" by Yehudit Silverman