Sound and Fury

SOUND AND FURY, presently playing in Triangle theaters, is an amaz-
ing, affecting, and a minor marvel of a documentary about deaf cul-
ture and its mixed feelings about cochlear implants and their use in 
young children.  (Basically, the device restores hearing.)  Issues 
of identity, future freedom, and cultural preservation are explored 
through the stories of two families, one all-deaf with a little girl 
who wants one, and another all-hearing, 'cept for one of two newly 
born twins.  Filmmaker Josh Aronson provides a engaging overview of 
the procedure, the professionals involved, the (speech) therapy re-
quired thereafter, and even testimonials, if you will, from kids al-
ready implanted.  We're also witness to impassioned *reactions* to-
ward the procedure, both pro *and* con, from spouses, grandparents, 
and other members of the deaf community.  They cite fear, confusion, 
and even abuse.  And, at times, display raw prejudice and outright 
rejection that it's almost *surreal*.  (Guess we're not accustom to 
such...  raw outrage in these politically correct times.)  The vid-
shot (and short!) feature is also unique because all spoken dialogue 
and on-screen sounds are displayed as subtitles!  (Usually at the 
bottom of the frame, but not always...)  Additional, all *signing* 
is interpreted via voice-over!  The latter is jarring at first, dis-
tracting at times, and, maybe, slightly self-sabotaging overall, as 
the perfectly modulated speakers lend the story the feel of an edu-
cational film.  Or, for that matter, of a soapy melodrama.  But then 
again, perhaps that's the point-- to contrast non-speech with "per-
fect speech."  Brilliant.  And, I suppose, a keen *emotional* aid,  
'cause it distracts *just* enough from the profoundly subject mate-
rial so the viewer isn't blown right out of the water.  After all, 
this *is* a movie about handicap, and social stigma, and... chil-
dren.  Wide-eyed, way-curious, already-knowing children as they get 
buffeted about by the "best-intentions" of adults.  You cannot not 
be heartbroken.  (Not rated/80 min.)
Grade: A

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros