Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is a English,Italian,Greek movie. Peter Strickland has directed this movie. Toby Jones,Antonio Mancino,Guido Adorni,Susanna Cappellaro are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2012. Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is considered one of the best Drama,Horror,Thriller movie in India and around the world.
A sound engineer's work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art.
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This film is a pleasant homage to Italian giallo and to the under-recognized art of sound editing. A bit like Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's "Amer" did, but in a more conventional, more "easy watching" way. It begins as an amusing comedy with a cast of characters gently mocking the 70's Italian machismo. The very exciting central concept of the film is to deal with graphical horror without showing any real violence on the screen. This counter-fashion idea clearly marks its distance from the recent escalation in the graphic horror genre cinema, which I find honorable. The imagination of the spectator is highly put to use compared to these days' standards. A truly outstanding atmosphere is obtained thanks to a really terrific sound editing. The atmosphere moves from light fun to disturbing fantasy with elegance. But near the end, the story lost me. I eventually didn't understand where the film wanted take me. For that disappointing feeling, I don't rate it very high, but this movie is definitely a good piece of artwork and is more interesting than most of what is to be seen nowadays.
Saw the film as part of EIFF today, and I mostly liked it. It's an immensely stylish homage to 70's Italian horror cinema. I was ridiciously excited for it going in , being a big fan of Peter Strickland's last film Katalin Varga, and it only really disappointed me towards the end. The sets, costumes, lighting, music and most importantly sound effects all gave the film an awesome 70's atmosphere not dissimilar to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy that kept me transfixed throughout. And something that surprised me: as well as being unsettling, the film was actually really, truly funny in parts (humor wasn't a big part of Katalin Varga). There's a lot of winks and nudges to fans of films like Suspiria, that would have been made in these studios in the first place. The ridiculous descriptions that the sound recordist gives of the scenes we only ever hear- "the two women creep along the secret subterranean poultry tunnel only to find the putrid corpses of the witches" - are hilarious. The tension and uncertainty builds slowly as Toby Jones ' gentle British sensibilities clash with the gruesome scenes he has to score (he has to stab cabbages, pull apart radishes and smash in courgettes) and with the brash Italians (some really well played escalating conflict). But in the last act the film became a little too ambiguous for my liking. It seemed to attempt a Mulholland Drive-style reversal which for me didn't really work...I didn't really get what the intention was, and felt like Strickland had just used it as a flashy excuse to avoid giving it a real satisfying conclusion. Still, I had a lot of fun watching the film and would definitely recommend it. An irony was that, for a film so dependent on sound for it's atmosphere,during the screening there was construction going on outside the screen. So to add to the diagetic horror sounds we annoyingly had some non-diagetic construction noises!!
'Berberian Sound Studio' is a film about an English sound technician (Toby Jones) who is used to creating sound effects for children's TV shows, who travels to Italy to work on a horror film. We follow him as he grows more and more homesick and as he gradually becomes hopeless. There isn't much in the way of acting in this film but Toby Jones is a very talented actor and does perform well here. The other actors certainly are not poor, they give decent performances but none of them are particularly memorable. The script is so basic and undeveloped you can practically see the writer shrug and say 'that'll do,' by the end. The first half hour is interesting because you get to see how sound effects are made and the whole dubbing process in general. After 30 minutes this gets tiresome however and I know it is supposed to be cyclical and seem never ending for Toby Jones, but it is so obscure you don't really care. When a film gets to the point where it thinks it's smarter than everyone else it becomes a pretentious mess, leaving you thinking they could have written that same concept with a more understandable and entertaining script. It deliberately tries to confuse you by adding pointless scenes here and there but in the end you realise the film only lasted an hour and a half but seems to last three hours. Overall, this was quite disappointing. I really wanted to like this film; I had read so many great reviews on it and was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately it made me question the judgement of so many film critics that I follow.
The horror and giallo films produced in Italy in the 70's are possibly more respected now than at any time before. Their unique combination of salacious content with cinematic style, outstanding musical arrangements and Italian chic is truly a thing of wonder and a type of film-making we may never see again. These are the kinds of movies that belong to a specific era, indeed the décor, fashions and look of the women from early 70's Italy are significant factors in the pleasure of watching them. It seems that any film nowadays that tries to capture the essence of these movies has to do it in a slightly post-modern or retro way rather than as a straight copy. Amer (2009) was a movie that adopted the former approach with many references to films from the time. Berberian Sound Studio does the same but with the addition of the film itself being set in Italy in the early 70's and, moreover, it is explicitly about the making of such films. However, neither Amer nor Berberian Sound Studio could exactly be called a giallo. They are films constructed from the motifs of the genre. They are both highly original films in their own rights. Berberian Sound Studio is almost a deconstruction of the giallo. The film is set in a sound recording studio for movie audio effects and dubbing. Italian genre pictures from the time were always shot soundless and then post-dubbed into a plethora of languages in order to maximise international sales; so for this reason it's obvious that the sound recording part of the process was even more important in these films than normal. So we have bizarre scenes where the sound engineer 'murders' various vegetables in order to get just the right noise. Similarly music plays an important part. The music throughout the picture recalls the early 70's Italian prototype. There are haunting female wordless vocals that recall the work of the one and only Edda Dell'Orso who was the vocalist on countless Italian soundtracks from the time and almost something of a muse for the legendary Ennio Morricone. Indeed, the excellent score from post-rock outfit Broadcast also has nods to Morricone as well as Bruno Nicolai, Goblin and others. A film set almost entirely within the confines of a sound studio needs something to ensure it's cinematic. Director Peter Strickland maintains a stylish look and feel, combining sound and image in consistently interesting ways. Little details are magnified and treated with visual flair such as the close-ups of the rotting vegetables discarded after being 'killed' for sound effects or the detailed scanning shots of the sound engineer's chronological notes. We never see the film in question but we are given a tantalising intro to it that certainly resembles movies from the time period. It's a Warholesque pop art intro with lots of black, lots of red and cool music. Instead of seeing the clips of the movie we have instead voice-over descriptions of gloriously ridiculous scenes that any fan of the genre will immediately relate to. Within these there are references to some cult genre flicks such as Suspiria (witches) and Death Laid an Egg (poultry), while throughout the movie an unseen black leather gloved figure flicks various switches which of course is a fetishtic detail that relates to countless gialli. The central character is British. So on another level this movie is about an Englishman in Rome. The culture clash is evident throughout, where the Italians just do things in a different way. They have unorthodox ideas on paying money and utter ambivalence to the violence in their film. Their Latin sensibilities are constantly at odds with the English sound engineer, who is more used to recording sounds of cows in fields. With time he becomes psychologically warped by his constant exposure to the movie he is dubbing and his reality starts to become intertwined with it. In one trippy scene he sees himself on the cinematic screen dubbed into Italian being terrorised by a sexy giallo killer-witch. In another his mundane letter from his mother becomes part of the film dialogue. One of his amateur films even becomes spliced into the middle of the horror film, creating a bizarre contrast. By the end, the protagonist's psyche is inextricably mixed up with that of the film he immerses himself in. It's a pretty Lynchian conclusion to a loving homage to Italian horror-thrillers of the 70's.
So I've read the raving reviews, not one bad one to be found, which is odd, as I heard at least 5 people leaving the cinema tonight muttering the words 'what a cr*p film that was'. I understand it's a take on 1970's horror movies, blah, blah, blah. But imagine if you hadn't seen one? The sound is amazing, interesting, atmospheric and amusing, (did they really make sound effects like that back then?) but once you realise that's all the film is all about you begin to lose interest. Personally I like a storyline, but isn't one. As for the last 20 minutes, I have absolutely no idea what that was all about. Being a massive Kubrick fan I'd normally love surreal scenes like this. But it all felt a bit like we've run out of ideas here, lets just add a twist to make it more interesting. Which doesn't work at all. If you like self indulgent stylized films then you'll love this. I prefer films with emotion that move you. This couldn't move me to the exit quick enough