Audio-centric films are almost always documentaries, but here’s a high-stakes cop flick that you might want to keep an eye—or rather an ear—out for in the next few weeks as it opens across the U.S. Sound of Noise is an off-beat Swedish-French-Danish film that mixes together 1970s cop movies, broad comedy and percussion performances akin to the off-Broadway hit Stomp. The result, as you can see in the trailer here, is pretty wild.
The story follows anti-terrorism cop Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson) as he tries to stop a group of six eccentric, activist drummers who have been launching “musical attacks” on their city, using the urban landscape and modern society as their instrument. The catch is, Warnebring comes from a family with a long history of famous musicians—and he’s tone deaf. To say that the guy hates music is an understatement, and that makes him even more determined—and perhaps insane—as he tries to capture the serial musicians.
The first feature film by Stockholm-based co-directors Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, the project stemmed from their short, Music For One Apartment And Six Drummers, which was screened as an Official Selection at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win more than 30 international awards.
Wanting to continue working with the titular six drummers, they envisioned a feature film that would allow the musicians to play an entire city, and began developing their script around a series of musical attacks. To ensure that the ideas they had would actually work musically as well as visually, all involved spent a year hunting for hundreds of optimal sounds and recording them with French foley artist Nicolas Becker. The result was that composer Magnus Börjeson ended up with a hard drive full of sound tracks.
When the film backing came together, Sound of Noise was shot in 10 weeks during the summer of 2008, primarily in the Swedish city of Malmö, with Becker recording sounds and foley in parallel with the shoot. Much of the 10 weeks was spent filming the final four musical attacks, which had been rehearsed and developed by the drummers and the directors together. Due to their complexity, they took more than twice the time to shoot than normal, often with double the number of cameras.
As might be expected, post-production on an independent—and unusual—film like this took a long time, with the sound designers at Europasound finishing up in the winter of 2010. The sound-intensive production was handled by sound editors Robert Sörling, Aleksander Karshikoff and Anders Larsson, and tackled by a sizable audio team that included Becker, Lasse Liljeholm, Eddie Axberg, Cyril Holz, Philippe Amouroux, Gabor Pasztor and Ulf Olausson.
The film has been picking up praise, having won the Best Picture award at the 2010 Fantastic Fest film festival in Austin, Texas, and after its premiere during the International Critic’s Week of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, Wild Bunch Distribution released Sound of Noise in France at the end of 2010. Now Magnoila Pictures is rolling it out across the U.S. over the next few weeks:
Los Angeles, CA: Cinefamily
New York, NY: Cinema Village
Seattle, WA: Varsity Theatre
San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Film Society
Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema
Austin, TX: Alamo Ritz
Austin, TX: Alamo Slaughter Lane 8
Santa Fe, NM: CCA Cinematheque
Spokane, WA: Magic Lantern Theatre
Salem, MA: Cinema Salem 3
Dallas, TX: Texas Theatre
Sound of Noise