Death Of The Soundman


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Death Of The Soundman
"An adept bit of film-making."

A man and a sausage, a fixed camera, but a substitution is required - the sausage isn't large enough. It sounds somewhat absurd, and it is, but a sharp focus on detail to comic effect that often manages to be both subtle and broad characterises this charming film.

After the sausages and the performer, a foley-trio or something somewhat homophonous, a cinema corridor. The posters might be for Jason Bourne, but it's the buzzing click and spark of fluorescent lighting, that sort of ting, and the buzz of refrigerators, a capture of sound and place. The essence of film since we entered the talking picture era is noise and light but here they are perfectly captured. Compositional excellence in fixed cameras, reverse shots of screening rooms, sound mixers engaged in sinuous disco display, the rattle of flags - after an unabashedly near-sexual opening, later scenes made possible only with glass tables and goggles acquire another edge. Yet the dirtiest dealings are with tax procedures, the subtlest elements are in observations about over-chlorinated water, the relative volume of flags, other questions less vexillogical but more vexing.

Written, directed, edited by Sorayan Prapapan, who also forms half of one sub-section of the sound department, the film talks about Thai politics, the odd classification of dog footsteps versus dog barking when it comes to credits, and though that all might seem esoteric it's readily relatable to any audience with open eyes and ears. The sound is great, but static camera and unattended microphones in some of the landscapes, locations, create something even more special. Fans of charismatic megafauna will also be rewarded - no matter how often I see it I'm always struck by the how much big cats are just cats, but bigger. This is also one of a handful of films where someone complains about the acquistion of a submarine, so it's got that going for it too.

Technically the opening film of Glasgow's 2018 Short Film Festival, Death Of The Soundman is an adept bit of film-making, a crisply executed technical work that will amuse any film-buff but had a particular resonance with a crowd that contained a fair quantity of industry types.

Reviewed on: 16 Mar 2018
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Two sound mixers are working hard on a film. But will anyone really pay attention to the sound of a film?

Director: Sorayos Prapapan

Year: 2017

Runtime: 16 minutes

Country: Thailand


GSFF 2018

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