Berberian Sound Studio: New York Film Festival 2012

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NYFF 2012: Berberian Sound Studio

NYFF 2012: Berberian Sound Studio


A timid British sound recordist (Toby Jones) heads to early-’70s Rome for a gig on a gory thriller, directed by a pretentious, Dario Argento–esque artiste. (“I don’t make horror films,” the guy insists, as screams emanate from the speakers.) Holding his nose, our likable hero sets about his craft: a fascinating process of twisting vegetables to emulate neck cracks, smashing melons for body splats and adding layers of reverb to ghoulish groans. None of Peter Strickland’s movie is explicit; it creates a winning picture of offscreen creativity—captured in an era of analog chunkiness—that should work like catnip for fans of process. Still, a mental breakdown is imminent, and impressively, the film snaps, too, tearing itself apart in a collage that’s close to experimental, yet never unmotivated.—Joshua Rothkopf

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