Directed and Written by: #TawanBazemore
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
Post-traumatic stress is not something that can be reasoned with, cured or simply explained away with any number of words. That is why Tawan Bazemore’s multi-award-winning short film Sound does away with them completely, and instead delivers a powerfully aural manifestation of how incredibly difficult it can be for one to come to terms with such trauma, as well as how the dire the consequences can be when that isn’t possible.
But as viewers will come to realise is that ultimately what this short film is is relentless.
Isabelle (Porter-Bazemore) was a passionate photographer, before having her entire world turned upside-down after a horrific car accident that resulted in severe hearing impairment, the clear audio of life that we mostly take for granted now a dull and faded memory for her. Some time after, determined to face that trauma and move on with her life, she picks up her camera once more and heads out to the place where that tragic incident occurred. After confronting those demons, she finds that her hearing miraculously returns. Unfortunately, that is when things turn from bad to so much worse.
Sound is a striking example of the level of quality that can be achieved when everyone involved is reading from the same page. It is a film that transforms itself constantly; from enigmatic drama to uplifting survivor story, before descending into almost chaotic horror, the film never lets you get comfortable for too long. But any film with subject matter such as this ultimately hangs on its actor’s ability to portray someone that the audience can empathise with. Luckily Porter-Bazemore (also producer and collaborator on the film) is able to provide such a performance, managing to convey the many stages of such trauma; from denial to grief to acceptance yet always haunted and afraid of the invisible and seemingly malevolent stranger that has inhabited her world and more specifically here, her head.
And director Tawan Bazemore wants you to feel that fear as much as its lead does. The camera judders, pans, cuts and zooms frantically in such a way that is quite an assault on the senses but it works. These disorientating visuals are further amplified when coupled with what can only be seen as the absolute stand-out and most crucial part of the piece; the sound. Sure it may be on the nose to say given the title, but sound is this films ultimate weapon and frankly couldn’t be wielded in better hands and full kudos must go to one Jeffery Allan Jones, the orchestrator of all things sound here. Despite always teetering precariously on a knife edge, (and it times it does come dangerously close to being too overwhelming), it manages to never collapse into a complete cacophonous mess. Sound here is the villain, it is the inescapable monster lurking in both the shadows and the light, and it is given such an unforgettable presence that its really makes the film sing, or rather, scream.
Sound is a film that will grab you forcefully by the ears and never let go. Play it loud. It’s the only way.
Watch the trailer here: