Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★★½

“I wonder, all these mornings you've been sitting in my study, have you had any moments of stillness? Because you're right, Ruben. The world does keep moving, and it can be a damn cruel place. But for me, those moments of stillness, that place, that's the kingdom of God.”

reminded me of Chloé Zhao’s The Rider in all the best possible ways with how it works through personal grief in a cathartic process towards a reconnection of the male body and the world around it. Darius Marder negotiates the tremendous loss of Ruben’s hearing by refiguring absence and presence, the body suddenly cut off from how it located itself in its surroundings and others and seemingly losing all reference of self, especially because of the character’s strong musical passion. stunningly intimate framing of his point of view by moving in and out of the isolated experience

I kept thinking about how much I connect to my family at home through sound. not just the precise tone & pitch of their voices. but the sound of each of their movements, the particularity of each person’s footsteps when they come upstairs, even the way the wood floors click when they shift their weight in an adjacent room and I know exactly who’s there because these noises are so thoroughly tied into their identity for me. I cannot even imagine losing that so suddenly and needing to define these relations all anew and rebuild interpersonal connections for myself as well as for them.

Riz Ahmed is breathtaking. absolutely heartbreaking and painfully raw but also deeply freeing as you begin to settle into this change with him as Ruben. silence becomes a presence rather than an absence, and in this enveloping presence others take up very different reference points. thoughts before too loud and impossible to shut off without the release of (metal) music can flow freely out into a calm of mind that seems to extend further into the presence of silence around Ruben. bit by bit he returns and replaces what he thought lost with other channels for release. 

and again I kept thinking about how much I connect to my family at home through sound. and how much of their vocal interactions are accompanied and even defined by mimics and touch. and how I can make out their footsteps by rhythm as well, the soft vibrations I feel when they come upstairs, different for each of them. the shifting of weight in the adjacent room noticeable in the little accompanying movement my bed makes as the floor clicks. and I still cannot even imagine ever losing their sounds around me but silence seems a little less frightening now because there is comfort, presence and connection in it too.

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