Friday, April 29, 2011

Sound of Noise

Yesterday afternoon I was at the SF International Film Festival to see Sound of Noise, a wacky Swedish comedy about an elaborate musical composition staged all over a large city & involving acts of subversion, kidnapping & vandalism. When a team of balaclava-wearing musicians takes over a bank, it's a gig, not a robbery. Another concert requires the performers to hang from power lines & play on them with saws. The result looked & sounded like Jon Rose's Music from 4 Fences. The audience only learns things as they happen, so the movie has many such absurd & unexpected moments. Music is here a fundamentally aggressive art. Actor Bengt Nilsson is perfectly cast as a determined policeman on the trail of the "musical terrorists." His character is constantly frustrated, & he's abused to the point that his ear bleeds, yet he is never pathetic.

The film played in 2 theaters simultaneously. Co-director Johannes Nilsson & production designer Cecilia Sterner were present. Before the screening, Mr. Nilsson took a picture of Ms. Sterner holding the film's metronome, with the audience waving in the background. The Q & A was held in a separate theater after the show. The movie grew out of a similar short film by the directors called Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers. We learned that the music was recorded first, then the film's images were designed to match, a reversal of the usual process. It was supposed to be shot in Berlin, but at the last minute the budget ran out, so it was filmed in the much smaller Swedish city of Malmö. Since Malmö has no tall buildings, the skyscrapers at the end of the movie were all CGI. One young woman, who was unexpectedly delighted by the film, declared that the description in the festival's catalog failed to do it justice.

§ Sound of Noise
directors: Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjärne Nilsson
Sweden/France/Denmark, 2010, 98 min

San Francisco International Film Festival 54
Thu, Apr 28 3:45 / Kabuki
Fri, Apr 29 9:00 / Kabuki

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