Film and music performance about 'our relationship to sound' at UA
A documentary and live music performance examining "the impact of sound of our perception of the world around" takes the stage at the Marroney Theatre this Friday and Saturday.
"Sound is such a profound connection," said Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green. "I'm speaking now, and I'm speaking, wind produces sound in my vocal cords and it goes through these wires and currents to reach into your eardrum. It's incredible."
Green's inspiration for the project "32 Sounds" came from a previous documentary he filmed about the Kronos Quartet.
"I felt like people weren't using their ears during the movie," Green said. "When you're watching a movie, you're mostly using your eyes."
In order to create a more integrated experience, Green collaborated with musician JD Samson from punk band Le Tigre, and Oscar-winning sound designer Mark Mangini. Samson, who wrote the score for the film, will play live at the screening while Green narrates.
The 32 distinct sounds that Green chose for the documentary are "both highbrow and lowbrow." People can expect a range going from foghorns in San Francisco to church bells in Italy. From a whoopie cushion to the sound of Green's neighbor's car blaring "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins in the middle of the night.
"The movie starts with the recording of the sounds of a womb," Green said. "And it ends with an old person sitting on her porch, thinking about her partner who is gone, and she is listening to the crickets. It's about being very alone but oddly connected."
Green's work for the film began in 2020, during a time of isolation but also "a feeling of 'we're all in this together.'"
"All of the regular patterns of our lives were scrambled," Green said. "And I guess I hadn't really thought about it until now, but while we were lonely, we were still connected - and one way was through senses, like sound."
Created in an unconventional way, there are two versions of "32 Sounds" — two ways to enjoy the documentary. One version is an immersive live performance while the other was created for at-home viewing. Green said that his team tours with 300 to 500 sets of headphones for audience members to wear at each showing.
"Theaters have different sound equipment and we wanted to make sure people can have a powerful sonic experience, which is why we provide the headphones," Green said.
"I gotta say, being in a room with an audience, with JD playing music, and having a collective experience with people is just magic," Green said. "It's the magic of cinema. Just magical."
The show takes place at University of Arizona's Marroney Theatre both Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through Arizona Arts Live.
Bianca Morales is TucsonSentinel.com’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.