In this meditative documentary from Patrick Shen, we are awoken to the repercussions of noise and sound on our lives. It’s an ode to a world gone by, a human relationship with the world around us which we no longer appreciate or even notice.
The film begins rather slowly, with breathtaking cinematography and images reminiscent of the lingering landscape shots shown in The Revenant (2015). We are introduced to voices who have contemplated the importance of finding silence in our modernised lives in order to reconnect with our more basic human instincts.
It is perhaps John Cage’s stunning 4’33 which makes the point most clearly. Comprised entirely of silence, Shen pays homage to the reflective importance of the composition and its evolution from a belittled and rejected artistic piece to a respected track beloved by music-lovers the world over for its muted nostalgia for a time without modern communications, without endless noise.
We are taken on a journey across the globe, from the streets of Mumbai during festival season, to the gently swaying trees in the forests of Japan, where tea ceremonies are played out to the sound of silence. We see ourselves reflected in the images of millions waiting for trains on their phones, or sitting in cafes on laptops, and we are reminded that human existence once relied on noticing even the smallest of sounds to survive and eat, whilst now we are more prone to drowning sound out.
This isn’t a film designed to entertain, but once you get past the slow beginning it absolutely holds your attention. It's an immersive experience, a meditative hour-and-a-half in which the audience is invited to contemplate the sounds which surround us on a daily basis. Fingers tapping on keyboards, the phone ringing, voices shouting over one another to be heard, emails popping up – they’re all here, but we’ve learned to drown them out.
In Pursuit of Silence invites us to reflect on whether silence should be coveted as a space to think and learn about ourselves, even if only for a few moments.
|What||In Pursuit of Silence film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
21 Oct 16 – 11 Dec 16, Times vary according to cinema
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|