Touch the Sound 2004 NR

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(39) IMDb 7.3/10
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Gracefully guided by the Grammy Award-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who also happens to be deaf, this groundbreaking film opens the door to a world where sight, sound, and touch magically converge to elevate our everyday sensory experiences.

Starring:
Evelyn Glennie, Fred Frith
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

Touch the Sound

Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Thomas Riedelsheimer
Starring Evelyn Glennie, Fred Frith
Supporting actors Jason the Fogmaster, Roger Glennie
Studio Docurama
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)

Customer Reviews

There is so much eye candy that you never get enough.
bass_oon
For all its flaws as documentary film, "Touch The Sound - A Sound Journey with Evelyn Glennie" has thrilling moments that easily make up for the lack of words.
Tsuyoshi
Yes, it is a noisy world, so noisy that it can even inspire a deaf musician!
Michael Bettine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on May 18, 2006
Format: DVD
Thomas Riedelsheimer's "Touch The Sound - A Sound Journey with Evelyn Glennie" presents the captivating world of sound and music, perceived and played by Evelyn Glennie, a renowned percussionist. I confess I never knew her name before watching the film, and perhaps you don't know her, but if so, don't let that fact discourage you to watch the documentary.

The documentary follows the journey of Evelyn Glennie traveling around the world - New York, Germany, Scotland, and Japan -- to discover the fascinating world of sound and music. For Evelyn, who has been hearing-impaired since she was 8 years-old, listening to sound and playing music should be called `touching the sound,' as the film's title suggest. And this documentary film, with the combination of beautiful images and thrilling music, is an attempt to explore the world perceived by Evelyn Glennie.

Though the film contains the interview with Evelyn, it is most arresting when it shows the gifted musician playing and improvising the instruments. The most beautiful moments is Evelyn's solo performance of playing the snare drum at New York's Grand Central Station. Another two standout scenes in this documentary film are her improvisation with guitarist/composer Fred Frith in a huge deserted factory in Cologne, Germany, and the Taiko drummers of `Za Ondekoza' in Fuji City, Japan.

The interviews given by Evelyn are slightly disappointing. Though the film brings her back to the farm in Aberdeen, Scotland, where she grew up as child, and gives her some occasions to talk about her views on sound and music, what she says sounds sometimes a bit too ordinary.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bettine on August 11, 2006
Format: DVD
The person who labeled this, "Disappointing," missed the point altogether. While I agree that the actual performances are the most captivating part, the other parts of the film give us insight into why those performances are so captivating. Yes, it is a noisy world, so noisy that it can even inspire a deaf musician!

As a percussionist, what I like most about this film, is that while Glennie is best known for her work with symphony orchestras, the music here is improvised. And with that, it is often very playful (not the serious stuff of classical music). Glennie is at her best when challenged by the avant garde guitar stylings of Fred Frith. His view of seeing everything as possible sound seems to inspire the natural curiousness of Glennie (Frith takes a bow to various metal beams in the abandoned factory they are filming in, noting the sounds they make). Their duo improvisations are the highlight of the film. [As a side note, it would have been nice to have an option to view all the material they did as a separate feature. And what about a CD of their improvisations???]

Glennie is also playful and imaginative when she plays glasses, cans, and bottles in a Japanese club, showing that the music is in the musician, not the instruments. Surprisingly, some of the generous out takes reveal more of Glennie herself.

All in all a fascinating portrait of a fascinating musician. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carlberg on July 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This documentary is very much in the same style and aesthetic as "Step Across The Border," the 2003 documentary on Fred Frith. In fact Fred co-stars as he and Evelyn Glennie, the deaf percussionist, prepare tracks for a new album. Recorded all around the world, with at least three different hair colors, Glennie is a mesmerizing presence, attuned to sounds and rhythms that most of us pass over unconsciously. She gives quiet lessons in participating in life -- in accommodating so-called handicaps -- in striking out in new directions -- and in being connected to the instrument of your body.

Thought provoking, remarkably filmed and a damn sight more interesting musically than any of her CDs!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David E. Nelson on December 13, 2005
Verified Purchase
What a great inspirational movie. In my Sound for Picture classes here in the bay area I plan on using the DVD as a starting point for the students in understanding film sound. Sound has never before been portrayed as ambient/organic and musical as well as it is in this film. Check it out..
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 10, 2008
Format: DVD
Touch the Sound (Thomas Riedelsheimer, 2004)

I've watched two Thomas Riedelsheimer films this month, and have had a great deal of trouble reviewing either one. (I had no idea this was by Riedelsheimer when I DVRed it; I knew only that it was about Evelyn Glennie.) What that says about my method of approaching the films of Thomas Riedelsheimer I don't know. What I do know is that the best way to approach them is to sit back and let them wash over you. When you lock yourself into a Riedelsheimer joint, you're going to be buffeted with a large number of very attractive, somewhat loosely-joined images. There's no denying his films are documentaries, but often they seem as if they're documentaries as such things would have been filmed by Seurat, had he access to a handheld video camera.

Touch the Sound seems to center on Evelyn Glennie's meetings with Fred Frith to record The Sugar Factory, but there's a lot more about Glennie than that short description would imply; playing in a subway station, a trip to Japan to study taiko drumming, teaching deaf school students the joy of percussion, other stuff, all surrounded by that Thomas Riedelsheimer mystique, lots of environmental shots and the like that seem to have little to do with what's going on. (They do; you just have to turn your mind a little way off-center to figure out how.)

It should be noted, however, that a lot of people's reactions to this movie seem to hinge on whether or not they like the music being produced. This, of course, makes perfect sense, given that much of the movie's soundtrack comes from the Sugar Factory recordings; if avant-garde music isn't up your alley, you may want to give this one a pass. But, like all of Riedelsheimer's films, it's a very pretty thing, and worth watching. ***
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