Berberian Sound Studio

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Keith Hennessey Brown's film review of Berberian Sound Studio
Berbarian Sound Studio

The sound and picture quality of the film on this Artificial Release is good but the extras are something of a mixed bag. The best of them is Peter Strickland's thorough commentary. He offers thoughts on his motivations for the film and carefully outlines his references, from gialli films - Suspiria, Black Sabbath and more - to music. He also outlines his love of the sound equipment shown in the film and talks about his fascination with the idea of 'looping'. As he puts it, "the film eats its own tail". His also talks about how "liberating" it was to have a diagetic soundtrack to work with. The only downside to the commentary track is that the film itself is completely muted beneath it, so if you want to hear a sound effect that he is referencing, you need to flip between audio channels and do a bit of Gilderoy style mixing yourself.

The interview with Strickland is less sucessful. Ironically, given the film's obsession with sound, the audio quality on this extra is poor and the camerawork very badly framed. He explains how the film began as an "in house joke" but there is much better structured consideration of the film elsewhere in this release.

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The Making Of becomes an excercise in frustration as it loops around the subject, beginning with interviews with key players including producers cast and Strickland that will mostly be replayed again, later within the same extra, over less-than-scintillating B-roll footage. There are interesting observations here but the same effect could have been produced in a Making of that was half the length and less repetitious. There are deleted scenes, with Strickland explaining the reasons for each one's excision, sometimes, it has to be said, to such an extent that you can't hear what the actors are saying. His observations over the Production Design Gallery are more pertinent, as he outlines why he chose Julian House to produce many of the designs for the film and talks us through the way that dubbing charts used to work, explaining how he used the Quay brothers' charts for Street Of Crocodiles as a reference point.

The extras are rounded out by the extended Local Perspectives No.6 Box Hill documentary - shot by Strickland in 70s style - and the director's original, comedic one-minute Berberian Sound Studio short from 2005, and the trailer.

Reviewed on: 10 Jan 2013
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Berberian Sound Studio packshot
In the 1970s, a British sound technician is brought to Italy to work on the sound effects for a gruesome horror film where his nightmarish task slowly takes over his psyche.
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Product Code: ART 053 BD

Region: 0

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 Stereo

Extras: Director's commentary, interview with director Peter Strickland, The Making Of Berberian Sound Studio, deleted scenes, production design gallery, extended Box Hill documentary, Berberian Sound Studio short, trailer

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