In Pursuit of Silence
Directed by Patrick Shen
In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s seminal silent composition 4’33”, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, with sound, and the impact of noise on our lives.
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★★★★½ review by jokainii on Letterboxd
An incredible documentary that not only tells us why silence, solitude, introspection, and reflection are important parts of being a human, but also shows it as well with small vignettes of natural silence in which the audience can do nothing but sit and reflect. Was especially effective being seen on the big screen in a packed auditorium of people all just sitting and listening to the silence.
A possibly life-changing film. Taking personal time away from the noise in life to think and reflect is something I've been told many times and many ways, and something I understood on a general level for a long time, but something I've never made time for. After this film that will most likely change.
★★★★★ review by claudrod on Letterboxd
I've been struggling with a lot of noise in my life recently that stumbling upon this film has been a blessing to me. I cried in a lot of parts; the filmed silences helped me recall what true silence is.
From where I live, silence is scarce. So this film is my handy-dandy access to (simulated) silence, with nuggets of wisdom to boot.
Of course, it bears emphasizing that for a film about the value of silence, sound design is ace. John Cage would be proud.
★★★★ review by MDF on Letterboxd
A truly wonderful look at noise, sound, and silence. A rare film that makes me look, and listen, to the world in a slightly different way. However I have two major issues with this film. Firstly, why the hell is there a score? Secondly, the documentary is pretty much absent of smiles. From monks, to John Cage, to other artists, scientists, thinkers, and journeymen. How can so many seekers of silence appear so banal and unhappy? Surely silence can bring a smile? Surely that’s okay in this pursuit?
★★★★½ review by BTU on Letterboxd
Very impactful. A needed film. Made me so thankful for the forest close to my house and my need for more silence. I down loaded an decible app for my phone to help me pay more attention to the wash of sound that I often live, unaware of it's impact on my life, body and soul.
★★★★ review by Glen Grunau on Letterboxd
Movies and Meaning Festival 2017
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This film rejuvenated my longing to hold silence as a persistent practice and a way of life. For it offers the only true opening to freedom from egotism and to beauty and to life.
Strangely, despite the beautiful and lingering opportunities to experience silence within the movie, I developed a pressing headache during my viewing. I wonder if it was the consequence of the numerous occasions when the viewer was jolted and assaulted with the contrasting exposure to noise - no doubt intended by the film writer and director to increase the perceived value of silence.
I loved all of the research supporting the multitude of benefits of silence - for physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health and wellbeing.
Meditating mindfully for 30 minutes with 200+ viewers before the movie in a beautifully silent theatre enhanced the experience greatly. Debriefing after the movie with my viewing companions Brent and Jim further enhanced the experience.
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