Smile Politely

The Art Theater presents Berberian Sound Studio

From the Art Theater Co-op website:

“1976: Berberian Sound Studio is one of the cheapest, sleaziest post-production studios in Italy. Only the most sordid horror films have their sound processed and sharpened in this studio. Gilderoy (Toby Jones), a naive and introverted sound engineer from England is hired to orchestrate the sound mix for the latest film by horror maestro, Santini. Thrown from the innocent world of local documentaries into a foreign environment fuelled by exploitation, Gilderoy soon finds himself caught up in a forbidding world of bitter actresses, capricious technicians and confounding bureaucracy. The longer Gilderoy spends mixing screams and the bloodcurdling sounds of hacked vegetables, the more homesick he becomes for his garden shed studio in his hometown of Dorking. His mother’s letters alternate between banal gossip and an ominous hysteria, which gradually mirrors the black magic of Santini’s film. As both time and realities shift, Gilderoy finds himself lost in an otherworldly spiral of sonic and personal mayhem, and has to confront his own demons in order to stay afloat in an environment ruled by exploitation both on and off screen.

“Writer-director Peter Strickland’s most striking trope is that the film-within-the-film is never seen, leaving it to our imaginations to supply visual analogues for the bloodcurdling screams, squishes, sizzles, and splatters that we hear. Often very funny, and quite fascinating in its detailing of the sound technician’s often overlooked craft, the film becomes ever more unsettling as the offscreen horror insidiously seeps into the consciousness of the increasingly unhinged protagonist–and, perhaps, of the viewer as well.”

The film screens Friday, August 2, at 10:00pm; Saturday, August 3, at 10:00pm; and Thursday, August 8, at 10:00pm.

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