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The Joy of Sound (La felicidad del sonido)    cover photo

The Joy of Sound (La felicidad del sonido) 2016


Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016

Directed by Ana Endara Mislov
DVD , color, 88 min.

General Adult
Communication, Music, Photography, Technology

Date Entered: 04/19/2018

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

What is the sound of a spider weaving a web? A frog blinking? A hummingbird in flight? Is the absence of silence merely noise or is it something else? In this engaging video essay on the meaning and impact of sound in daily life, and the joy it can bring (La felicidad del sonido), these questions and others like it are thoughtfully considered. Filmed in and around the city of Tucué, Panama, director Mislov reflects on her theme through the perspective and narration of five of its residents. A blind woman recounts stories from her childhood as she makes her way along city streets, a jungle path, and a beachfront. A young audiofile contemplates sound as a vibration and an energy while an older musician blasts classical music from a car speaker. A sound engineer for a local community radio station and a listener consider sound as a cultural and human right even as government officials try to control it. Other Tucué residents contribute additional film bites that comment on or contribute to the general theme.

Although the film is somewhat scattered in its approach to its topic, Mislov’s decision to capture the tropical landscape in crisp and evocative black and white film more than make up for the non-linear storyline. Made in response to a contest sponsored by DOCTV for Latin American filmmakers to look at the subject of happiness, the documentary has both local and universal appeal.