Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Peter Strickland‘s seething and self-conscious Berberian Sound Studio offers a dynamic that’s impossible to resist: being trapped in a Kafkaesque netherworld of vintage Euro-genre film post-production. It’s Italy in 1976, in that post-dubbing-crazed industry’s seediest foley studio, where Toby Jones, as a shy British sound engineer, is imported to fabricate the soundtrack for what seems to be an absurdly gory Dario Argento-ish giallo. We never see the film in question, but only hear it, as a thousand cabbages and melons are decimated with knives and sledgehammers, and as the brittle Gilderoy finds himself lost in whimsical Italian bureaucracy and appalled by the bloody mayhem on the screen. His strained subjectivity takes over, and the two films he’s “in” cross-fertilize each other – until there’s almost no film left.

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