The Silence of Kore

Based on the myth of Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, and Persephone aka Kore, Queen of the Underworld, the short film Silence of Kore portrays the reunion of mother and daughter separated between the worlds of the living and the dead. Inspired by the Eleusinian mysteries, the queer fantasy film uses elements associated with post-horror to re-signify the cycle of all living things, and fear becomes enchantment.

  • Paulo Mendel
  • Larissa Luz
    Key Cast
  • Emilianno Zapata
    Key Cast
    "Persephone aka Kore"
  • André Magalhães
  • Mariana Maltoni
  • Luciano Oliveira
    Score and Sound Design
  • Camila Schmidt
    Production Design
  • Paulo Ferreira
    Production Design
  • Paulo Mendel
  • Felipe Argollo
  • Emilianno Zapata
    Executive Producer
  • BlankTape | Art and Films
    Production Company
  • Victor Hugo Mattos
    Costimes Design
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Queer Fantasy, Experimental, Post-horror
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Paulo Mendel

Paulo Mendel is a director, cinematographer, editor, visual artist and independent curator. He explores audiovisual possibilities in different media, especially the interface between art and video and between video art and documentary. He has worked in short and feature films, commercials, animations and art films. His hybrid works – webdocumentaries, video installations, multimedia stage designs, videodances – have been exhibited at major festivals, such as the Bienal de Sao Paulo, the Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil and the Prague Quadrennial, and are included in collections such as those of Circuito Videodanza Mercosur and Centre de Vidéo-danse de Bourgogne.

Mendel also began to create in other media – such as web-art and oil paintings – as well directing projects of his production company BlankTape, with which he also organizes online exhibitions, a way to dialogue with other artists and reflect upon contemporary production. In recent years, a short documentary directed by him won the APA Award 2019, the most important recognition in the field of visual anthropology in Portugal. and his first fashion film won six internationals awards, including for Best Director in London and for Best Photography in Barcelona. In 2021, he won in two categories at Rio Webfest: Best Directing (Non-fiction) and Best Diversity Series.

The Silence of Kore is the second short of a film series created by the queer performer Emilianno Zapata and the director Paulo Mendel. The first short, Hygieia, took part in an exhibition at Museu da Imagem e do Som (Sao Paulo), and was selected for the Buenos Aires International Film Festival and the Image+Nation Festival Film lgbtqueer Montreal.

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Director Statement

The Silence of Kore is a fragment of the Myth of the Queen of the Underworld, where Persephone aka Kore, ascends and reunites with her mother Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. The cult of these two Goddesses, whose disobedience was anarchic to the designs of the Gods Zeus and Hades, defying the laws of life and death, turned into the most revered of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece. The Mysteries at Eleusis were practiced for over a thousand years, promoting benefits in the afterlife, but part of its transformative rituals of consciousness-alteration remains unknown. For these reasons, this enigmatic festival is also associated with the etymology of the word “mystery” in different languages.

According to the myth, Kore, as Persephone was known as a virgin girl, was kidnapped by Hades and became queen besides him, a pact sealed with a pomegranate, the “fruit of the dead". Demeter’s emotions towards the absence of her only child define the changing seasons on Earth, and therefore govern the cycles of nature and all living things. Her grief and anger initiate a period of starvation. To avoid the extinction of mortals, Zeus makes a deal with Hades so that Persephone would periodically return to her mother, which would guarantee part of the year with flowering seasons and new harvests. The story has different versions. In some, Hades had forced Kore to eat some pomegranate seeds. In others, it was her choice to eat them to stay with him in the realm of the dead. Unlike the invisibility commonly assigned to her in the Greek myth, the film portrays Persephone empowered over her own destiny, and not as a passive character guided by other’s decisions. In a way, it’s a myth about the passage to adulthood, and Persephone becomes the woman she wanted to be.

In the Silence of Kore, Demeter is played by Larissa Luz. Her calls to Kore are the only words said and sung in the film, and while glimpses of Persephone’s emotions can be seen in her eyes upon her returns to earth, they remain mysterious. Inspired by the Eleusinian Mysteries, this queer fantasy short film uses elements associated with post-horror to depict a relationship that is separated between the worlds of the living and the dead. With Persephone as the main character, played by Emilianno Zapata, the film re-signifies the cycle of death and rebirth, and fear becomes enchantment.