Swedes sounding out audiences with Noise
by Annika Pham
Ten years after Roy Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor, another UFO from Sweden, Sound of Noise [+see also:
film profile] by the first-time Swedish filmmaking duo Johannes Stjärne Nilsson and Ola Simonsson landed on the Croisette yesterday, welcomed to cheers and applause after its world premiere in International Critics Week.
The millions of Youtube users who watched the directors’ 2001 short film Music for One Apartment and Six drummers (a Palme d’Or contender in Cannes) will be pleased to be reunited with the group of six eccentric drummers – five men and one woman – who use everyday objects to create music to the most comical effects.
While in the short film the six characters broke into an apartment, disrupting the serenity of the place with an improvised drum session, here the drummers – led by tough blond Sanna – are terrorising an entire city because its citizens play “bullshit music”. However, Amadeus Warnebring, a lonesome cop suffering from tone deafness, is on the case. He has to overcome his hate for music to catch them.
The anarchists’ first musical attack, “Doctor, Doctor, Gimme Gaz”, is about a hospital patient. A pompous TV presenter suffering from haemorrhoids is taken by the gang to an operating room where they put him to sleep while performing a wild drum session on his body. The second attack is in a bank, where the anarchists destroy bank notes to the beat of calculators. The third one, outside a concert hall, is aimed at music itself, and the fourth one is on the city’s electric supplies. But as the title of the fourth mission, “Electric Love”, implies, love gets in the gang’s way as Amadeus, who has gradually fallen for Sanna, seduces her with his own musical piece and neutralises the band.
By mixing a classic narrative structure – a good guy against bad guys – with their highly inventive musical world, the directors create a satisfactory destabilising effect. The first three chapters succeed in keeping the tension and interest in this high concept storyline, but the film somewhat loses its tempo when the love element is developed.
Of the group’s five male professional drummers, the classically trained Anders with the look of an undertaker, is the most colourful. Trained actors Bengt Nilsson and Sanna Person provide credible performances. The film’s biggest achievement is its soundtrack and constant play between real sounds, perceived sounds and vision of the sounds.
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