Out Of Sync

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Out Of Sync
"Beyond the enjoyably unpredictable narrative, you can feel Giménez's love of the possibilities of cinema more widely."

With the world watching increasing amounts of films and television on streaming services, we've surely all had the irritating and dislocating experience of trying to view a show where the sound and the action aren't quite in sync. So it's easy for us to step into the world of sound designer C (Marta Nieto) as we watch her recording and adding foley sounds to the latest film she's working on. While she may have control, to the second, of what is happening on the screen, her personal life is completely the opposite - she's been pulling long hours and she's also having to face up to the reality of having to move out of the flat belonging to her ex much sooner than she hoped.

It seems at first that it might be the pressure then, that suddenly begins to cause her to lose her grip on the way sound is married to action in her job but things seem as though they might be a whole lot worse when she realises that even when she is out and about, she is suddenly experiencing a sound delay, not hearing things until moments after they have happened - and it's a situation that is gradually getting worse.

Juanjo Giménez managed to retain an air of mystery to the last about his Oscar-nominated short Timecode and he generates a similarly unusual mood with this feature, which though initially firmly in psychodrama territory slips gradually towards something altogether less explicable after C begins to discover secrets about her life. Courtesy of the film's own clever sound design from Oriol Tarragó and Marc Bech, he takes us in and out of C's world as the delay becomes so pronounced she begins to hear things that happened before she even was in the space where they occur.

It's a tricksy idea and one that Giménez plays about with as the film progresses. As with the recent The Night House, because C is a steely sort, with Nieto imbuing her with a real determination and an intensity that is infectious, it makes her anxieties seem all the more acute when they occur. We join her, holding our breath too, as she claps her hands and then waits as seconds tick by on an egg-timer for the sound to arrive, jumping as it finally does.

Beyond the enjoyably unpredictable narrative, you can feel Giménez's love of the possibilities of cinema more widely - through the sound distortion we're thrust into from C's perspective to scenes which we observe from places where we can't hear the sound or others that play out in silence, he takes a playful approach to the way sound can manipulate mood and the way most of us read things from body language. Like Dusk Stone, which is also featuring in Venice Days at the Venice Film Festival, the supernatural is stitched tight into the fabric of the everyday, although Giménez is rather more successful at building his mystery until we're fully immersed within it. Out Of Sync is travelling on from Venice to Toronto and Sitges and, though there might be a slight delay, I'm sure a lot more audiences will be hearing about it soon.

Reviewed on: 08 Sep 2021
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Out Of Sync packshot
A sound designer finds herself out of step with the world as her brain begins to deliver sound on a delay.

Director: Juanjo Giménez

Writer: Juanjo Giménez, Pere Altimira

Starring: Marta Nieto, Julius Cotter, Miki Esparbé, Cris Iglesias, Fran Lareu, Luisa Merelas, Carmen Méndez

Year: 2021

Runtime: 104 minutes

Country: Spain, Lithuania, France

Festivals:

Venice 2021

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