Thursday, January 29, 2015

Berberian Sound Studio

Berberian Sound Studio
Director: Peter Strickland
Writer: Peter Strickland
Stars: Toby Jones, Antonio Mancino, Guido Adorni

Continuing the "I'm not sure you will like this film because it's so odd" theme I seem to be having at the moment, I thought about Berberian Sound Studio. This is definitely not a film for everyone, but I loved it.It's not a "horror horror" film, but it's disturbing on many levels.

Toby Jones plays a mild mannered folly artist sound editor type who goes to Italy to work on a horror film. There's much stabbing of mellows and women screaming in sound booths as they work on this horror film we never actually see. But, as he works on the film, the film starts working on him and he starts to drift into a world that is definitely not his own.

I love the fact that the films focus is on the sounds that go into a horror film. While we never see the actual film, we are giving the description of the horrific event we're working on the sound for, so the sound itself becomes like a audio switch for what we are supposed to be seeing in the film. It worked wondrously and gave me chills from time to time.

The fact that this strange world of the studio is where we spend most of our time allows for the dream-like (nightmare, really) aspects to really pop. He wanders about - an Englishman in an Italian landscape - trying to work like he does when he's dealing with his documentaries and sleepy films and it's just not the same world at all. When his grip on what's real starts to slip, things get to be very interesting indeed.

I loved the film. I thought it was interesting and odd and a lot of fun. Again, a relief from the endless sea of cinema verité, zombie, cgi paranormal ghost dreck out in the world right now. Version after version of a copy of a copy doing the same damn things we've seen time and time again. This film is...not that. Not that at all. The visual style is grand. Sights and sounds play together to show what goes into some of the folly work - creating visceral, audio support for the visuals on the screen. The visuals are kinetic and curious in many ways as we watch dials and hand movements and people moving about in a world full of deep shadows and dim lights.

Perfect for a late night viewing, too. That peak time around midnight where your mind starts getting a bit mushy. :)

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