- Actors: Toby Jones
- Directors: Peter Strickland
- Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Rated: Not RatedUnrated
- Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
- DVD Release Date: December 10, 2013
- Run Time: 92 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00F6Y3GDI
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,592 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
Berberian Sound Studio
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Mild-mannered sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones, The Hunger Games, Captain America) arrives in Rome to begin work on the soundtrack to a film called The Equestrian Vortex, a tale of witchcraft and murder set inside an all-girl riding academy. Before long he finds himself entranced by the film s mysteriously terrifying allure, and the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur. Now Gilderoy s own mind has become the battleground between his horrifying delusions and his desperate grasp on the real world. Tense, claustrophobic, and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Jones, BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO is an electrifying portrayal of a man s descent into the darkest pit of madness.
Behind the Scenes, Box Hill Documentary, Deleted/Alternate Scenes, Gallery, Trailer
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Top Customer Reviews
I shoudl not be considered a horror film. More art-house. You have to appreciate the clashes of culture,the attention to time period detail, the fragile nature of the meek, suppressed English personality, and literary sublteties, ll mixed in with the most exploitative film cliche's of the splatterhouse 70s. There's no actual horror in this. It's all offscreen gore and moody atmosphere. It's more a dread or opression film than a horror one.
At the end I felt it went too off the rails and dreamlike, but when you take a day or two to consider it, it actually has a clear statement and resolution.
What you have is 132 minutes of the camera following the slow mental deterioration of a gentle but easily intimidated Milquetoast, who finds himself trapped into mixing the sound for a Italian Giallo (slasher/horror) film.
The movie that we find ourselves watching actually has very little plot, no music soundtrack and minimal sound effects other then dialogue. It does not even have its own opening title other then a sign in in a dimly lit hall.
The soundtrack and much of the sound effects we hear throughout the 132 minutes of The Berberian Sound Studio actually belongs to an entirely different movie called The Equestrian Vortex - a repugnant, nightmarish thriller we never actually get to see (other then it's opening credits).
The effect of watching the frames of one film with the soundtrack from another completely shades the viewers emotions, where the most mundane or innocent things (such as reading a sweet letter from Mum, setting a daddy-long-legs free or dicing a cabbage) may become disturbing, foreboding, frightening, repulsive, or suspenseful. Scenes of inappropriate behavior, or intimidation around the unhealthy studio become close to nightmarish.
One of the many effects of putting the sound effects and soundtrack from one movie to the visuals of another, is that it puts the viewer inside the head of the squeamish protagonist. It allows us to sense his dilemma as this nice guy attempts to get along at a dysfunctional work place. (haven't we all been there at least once in out lives) In many ways the viewer shares the sound-man's state of mind as he slowly looses his grip on reality. Is the producer insulting him? are the pretty voice-actress's warnings real? Is she coming on to him?, is the creepy director getting to familiar?, is a secretary ignoring him?, is he going to get paid? and what is the Equestrian Vortex he is forced to endure if not a horror film? Or maybe its all in his mind, or it's all simply due to cultural barriers and language issues? As our sound-man becomes confused by the mixed messages, so is the viewer. The viewer's confusion, in this case, is being assisted by the overlapping movie soundtracks and visual slights of hand..
The following is one example of the mixed signals you can expect, its the opening title credits, of which there are none! When Berberian Sound Studio begins, the only hint of the title is a dimly lit sign at the top of the screen in the office hallway. Yet we see credits roll, and if your not paying attention, they may seem to be the credits for the film we are going to see. In reality the credits are not for the film the viewer is about to see, they are the credits for a film that that the viewer is about to hear. Confused yet? The effect is that you believe you are going to see a certain type of horror film, but you aren't, and like allot of what goes on in this film - it has to be teased out and analyzed otherwise you have just been influenced into a mood, you are ill-prepared and expecting the wrong thing , just like our soundman. It's easy to miss, and that is part of the game and the genius of the film. Its these subtle and easily overlooked visual and aural tricks that play on our emotions and beliefs that make The Berberian Sound Studio such a challenging and rewarding film to experience.
The Berberian Sound Studio is not for everyone and it is not a horror film, although it is horrifying in its own way. The Berberian Sound Studio is more like a study of a deteriorating personality, similar to films like Bergmann's Persona or Hour Of The Wolf. In the case of Berberien Sound Studio, its seems that this protagonist will come to identify with his "torturers" at the expense of his identity.
Know that Berberian Sound Studio is both a beautiful and ingenious film but it is also an unpleasant one and the film's lack of plot, final moments and subjective conclusion may not be satisfying for many.
But, if you really love one of a kind, original films that mix exceptional film-making techniques with psychology (and with more then a nod to Giallo movies), then the Berberian Sound Studio is not to be missed. The film is re-watchable and like a good painting takes on new layers and deeper meaning with each viewing.