Editor's Note: THE SOUNDING was recently showcased at the 22nd Palm Beach International Film Festival in Boca Raton where it won Best Fantasty, Florida held from March 29 - April 2, 2017. For information on next year's Palm Beach International Film Festival bookmark their website for updates and check back on Picture this Post next year for our ongoing coverage of the festival.
Catherine Eaton’s debut feature THE SOUNDING is an unflinching portrait of a woman at odds with the norms of society. What begins in a dreamy, romantic world, ends up in a gritty war amid confusion and determination.
Choice or Disorder??
We meet Liv through the eyes of Michael, a young neurologist. She is an enigmatic woman who, for reasons he cannot comprehend, does not speak. According to her grandfather, Michael’s mentor, she has never spoken. After her grandfather dies, Liv begins to speak but only through Shakespearean quotes.
After believing she is a danger to herself, Michael has Liv committed to a mental institution against her will. Michael, along with the audience, is determined to figure out whether these are simply Liv’s choices, or if she, in fact, has a communication disorder.
Cinematography Reflects Content
One of the many thought-provoking elements to this unique film is the cinematography choices. The camera is rarely stable, which seems to reflect the instability of the world within. The camera is not a passive observer. It is a character in the story. The color saturation begins in a hazy, relaxing world where Liv and her grandfather live peacefully. Once Liv’s world is altered dramatically, the colors become much more harsh and grim.
THE SOUNDING Gives a Unique Take on Diversity
In today’s world, there are many ways in which people are viewed as different or even abnormal. In this case, Eaton has chosen to use the use of language as a means of making her main character “the other” in a world where everyone else uses their own words. Films often use this theme of “the other” as a means to give voice to people whose voices are often unheard. THE SOUNDING, however, takes a much more unexpected approach to this topic.
As director, producer, writer and star, Catherine Eaton has an undeniable personal connection to this film. It is palpable in her performance as we follow Liv through these harsh events that have thrown her life into upheaval. Her performance is subtle and compelling. Liv’s genuine battle with Michael, played with an effortless grace by Teddy Sears, is treated with sensitivity yet is never schmaltzy.
Top Pick For: Loves of language and human psychology
Not recommended for: Those that need action to be entertained
Photos: Asya Danilova/Mariya Bulat
Catherine Eaton Bryan Delaney