Sunday, 10 November 2013

Berbarian Sound Studio

Berbarian Sound Studio- A film I was really excited about seeing…then inevitably missed at the cinema. God bless Tyneside for a cheeky, one off, second screening. Toby Jones plays Gilderoy, a sound artist/engineer for films. He is invited to provide the soundtrack for a bizarre Italian horror (entitled Equestrian Vortex, reminiscent of the mad and extravagant gore of Lucio Fulci…and yes, I have not yet seen any of these…nor Argento…need to track some down and catch up!) and unsurprisingly it soon turns out to be a somewhat unsettling experience. The first half of the film enjoys the subtle and dark humour of deconstructing a horror soundscape: plentiful stabbed cabbages and closely microphoned frying oil etc. The cinematography is impressively delicate; capturing the reoccuring image of a spindly spider, making its hair legged way across a landscape of the minute. Atmosphere is also brilliantly concucted, joining the accreuing nightmare of sound with an ambient pallete of intimate lighting and shadows. The second half of the film explores the disintegration of sanity, as Gilderoy seemingly loses the ability to distinguish between what is filmed and what is lived, and we, the audience, try to decipher whether what has happened is psychological or actual. Navigating such territory obviously ends up evoking Lynch (Laura Dern facing the image of herself in the cinema-INLAND EMPIRE, the repeated mantra of ‘Silencio’ from Mullholland Dr. – seen here in the flashing of the studio’s sign, even a proliferation of Lynchian red lamps). It’s hard, as a result, not to be reminded of how Lynch’s films are in comparison far more immersive, compelling and genuinely unsettling. As this is the director’s second film this is perhaps an unfair comparison to draw, and it was interesting, it’s just I think I wanted more. There was a turning point in the film, in which Gilderoy’s ability (and ours) to securely discern cinema and reality is lost, and it can’t be denied – this is done with an exciting and innovative audio and visual flare. I wanted the rest of the film to be as simarlaly bold-and it wasn’t. It may be needlessly harsh (for a film that was both artistically and conceptually relatively adventurous), but it eneded up feeling like an advert for a better film, the tantalizing glimpse of something bizarre and exciting-not fully realised. I wanted it to be stranger…but then, this is probably my fault and not the film. I have never been a great coniseur of restraint. 7/10

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