Today: May 28, 2024

In Pursuit of Silence

It’s the impeccably crystalline sound design of In Pursuit of Silence, above all else, that leaves you so very acutely aware, upon leaving the cinema, if only for some residual minutes rather than resounding hours, of all the motion, commotion and sound abounding around you.

Director, Patrick Shen, posits his film as meditative and it is profoundly effective and affecting in that regard. Even if predominantly noticeable only once it has finished then that, perhaps, is largely the point. Maybe, just maybe, amidst everyone leaping for the exits as soon as the credits begin to roll and clawing their pockets for their mobile phones, that in fairness they have been utterly neglecting for the past epoch of all of 90 minutes, you might just sit in silence and take in the experience you’ve just had, rather than instantly disposing of it and rushing headlong into the next.

Forced or, better still, drawn to distraction through a fear that if we’re not immediately experiencing something directly in front of our eyes then we’re experiencing nothing, when actually the inverse is more accurate, by cramming our senses with constant stimulus we prevent ourselves from being able to truly experience any one of the moments within which we truly must exist. And this is the point Shen is making. It may well be that the link between silence and well-being is not merely a spiritual consideration but also a physical one. The correlation between excessive noise in a person’s environment and heart disease, hypertension etc appears, from what Shen presents here, to be one worthy of the study it is currently undergoing but also our attention.

However, bringing the film itself, and not just it’s message, back into focus, it’s not quite the piece of high art to which it might aspire, a la the work of Godfrey Reggio or 2012’s intensely visceral silent masterpiece Leviathan, but it is superbly well tuned in to what it is trying to achieve. And it achieves it well.

Meditation can make you feel relaxed and, at times, even lull you to sleep, as can Shen’s film. Blending a sensory compliment of voice-over, talking head interviews and roaming ambient soundscape draped over sweeping imagery, the very notion that silence, in its very essence, does not actually exist but is just yet another human made construct born out of a misapprehension of our environment, this documentary poses some probing questions and plants some seeds of doubt as to whether they way we live is the way we are supposed to live.

Uniquely realised, In Pursuit of Silence doesn’t quite defy or transcend its own boundaries but it certainly has a good stab at challenging them.








Previous Story

Film Fun At The Royal Albert Hall

Next Story

Timberlake Talks Tuneful Trolls

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

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

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Electric Malady

Rated: 5/5. Genre: Documentary. Director: Marie Lidén. Language: Swedish with

The Wonderful: Stories From The Space Station

In the last 18 months or so, we’ve all come