Today: April 17, 2024

Berberian Sound Studio

Cinema is the most immersive art form there is.

Cinema is the most immersive art form there is.
An art form in which image, sound, character and narrative work in
harmony to transport a viewer to a world familiar and yet alien. Berberian Sound Studio typifies this to
a level of wonderfully weird and surreal psychological mind melt. Like it does to its’ protagonist, the
film has the ability to pick you up and transport you in ways you often won’t
be ready for and, at times, won’t want to visit.

Sound folly
artist Gilderoy (Toby Jones) arrives
in Italy to work on a film he knows little about. Alienated by the language barrier, he soon learns he is to
compose the gruesome sounds to accompany a giallo style horror film. But with the pressures of the job, the
bombardment of horrific images and the bullying mentality of his new colleague
Francesco (Cosimo Fusco), Gilderoy
soon begins to regress to past memories.
With power-cuts a constant feature in the studio, life soon begins to
imitate art and Gilderoy finds himself increasingly losing his grip on reality.

Already heralded
by numerous awards in 2012, Berberian Sound Studio is undoubtedly an acquired
taste. Paying homage to the giallo
films by the likes of Dario Argento
and Mario Bava it is a film of
magical scope and stunning direction. As Gilderoy is slowly drawn in to the
mysterious world he finds himself in so we are lulled into the film’s
methodical, often plodding, sense of increasing fear.

For a film that
concentrates so much on horror, none is ever seen on the screen. Instead writer-director Peter Strickland toys with us, letting
the horrific sounds infect our minds while something rotten squelches its way
behind the scenes. At times it
feels like a David Lynch film but
there is more heart here, more emotion to allow you to invest in the film
rather than see it as a living nightmare.
For while aspects of Berberian are nightmarish you are never asked to
feel uncomfortable. Strickland
invites you into this soundproofed existence with a curiosity rather than an
alarm bell.

And in the midst
of this unparalleled existence is Tobey Jones on blistering form. Like the film his performance is
understated, quiet in sound but loud in emotional upheaval. Gilderoy is like that person you knew
at school, the reclusive type who no matter what was thrown at them, they just
kept their head down and went about their own business. Jones making maximum use of his timid body
language and muffled speech pattern to bring Gilderoy to heartbreaking

Poised, delicate
and profoundly immersive, Berberian Sound Studio might lack in plot but more
than makes up in ideas and compelling suspense. That sound you hear is one of silent rapture.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

Previous Story

Star Trek Into Darkness

Next Story

London Short Film Festival 2013

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Jack Ryan Complete Series Unboxing

The casting of John Krasinski – The Office’s Jim Halpert – as CIA analyst-turned-hero Jack Ryan certainly came as a surprise to those who were only familiar with Dunder Mifflin’s sarcastic, floppy-haired

Peter Doherty: Stranger in My Own Skin

Infamous Libertines and Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty – uncommonly going by ‘Peter’ in this film’s title – has had a turbulent career and personal life that seldom saw him far from the


Argylle is one of those films that, for the first 15 minutes, you absolutely hate. Then, slowly, inexorably, the script’s subversive humour starts to work its way under your skin. So that,


From ultra-stylish visuals, to the cool, jazz soundtrack, and the knowing nod to Noir, Sugar is one glorious piece of misdirection after another. Like the best detective fiction, the clues are all
Go toTop