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Berberian Sound Studio Blu-ray

Peter Strickland, 2012


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1 Review // 10 Lists

Film Details

Directed by Peter Strickland

Produced in 2012

Main Language - English / Italian

Countries & Regions - British Film


Cosimo Fusco, Fatma Mohamed, Guido Adorni, Hilda Peter, Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou


Contemporary DramaContemporary Horror FilmContemporary Mystery FilmContemporary British FilmContemporary Blu-raysHorror Blu-raysContemporary British FilmBritish Film Blu-rays

MovieMail's Review

This brilliantly inventive psychological drama from the director of Katalin Varga sees a sound man lured to Italy to work on a giallo. It leaves an indelible impression, writes Nick Riddle.

This riveting second feature by Peter Strickland (after his acclaimed Katalin Varga), Berberian Sound Studio swaps the rural Romanian setting of his debut for a handful of eerie interiors: bare corridors, recording booths, editing suites, and the increasingly troubled mind of Gilderoy (Toby Jones), a timid sound engineer. It begins as a fish-out-of-water tale that mines the English fear of foreignness, but mutates into something much more primal and bizarre.

It’s the 1970s, and Gilderoy is summoned from the comfy Home Counties to the sinister offices of an Italian film studio to create an effects soundtrack for a giallo horror flick entitled The Equestrian Vortex. Gilderoy is pitched into a vortex of his own, as his hosts’ manners slip from courtesy to contempt, and the bizarrely gruesome scenes that he has to watch repeatedly begin to have an insidious influence on his state of mind.

Few films have realised so well the possibilities of sound. The only part of The Equestrian Vortex that we see is the title sequence (a brilliantly lurid pastiche of the giallo genre). After this, we rely on Gilderoy’s horrified reactions to the gruesome acts depicted onscreen, the screams of the actresses, and the sound effects that he devises. These effects - fat sizzling in a pan, vegetables being hacked and crushed - are both comic and oddly unsettling: as in the work of modern surrealists like Jan Svankmajer, objects seem to take on arcane meanings, repetition turns into ritual, and sanity goes south.

Strickland gives us plenty to savour: the lingering shots of analogue recording equipment; the sly humour; Jones’ low-key performance as a priggish milquetoast prey to the pretentious whims of the director and the dark advances of the actresses; and not least, the soundtrack by Broadcast, whose music has long evoked the pre-digital technology and spooky atmospherics of 1970s Britain.

In narrative terms, the film is a mystery tour. It’s ultimately more Antonioni than Argento, with clues presented and then discarded. But the nightmarish world of sounds and images that Strickland creates is thrilling, and the impression it leaves is indelible.

Nick Riddle on 29th October 2012
Author of 77 reviews

Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio

Film Description

Peter Strickland's latest (following Katalin Varga) is a brilliantly inventive tale in which mild English sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) - more used to recording the sounds of natural world for natural history films - arrives in Italy to work in the 'Berberian Sound Studios' where he finds himself working on a lurid 'giallo' film, 'The Equestrian Vortex'. The longer Gilderoy spends in the claustrophobic confines of the studio, the more he is drawn into the world of the films on which he works. Some of the horror seems to stem from within, as Gilderoy revisits moments from his past, but it leaves him precariously poised between the real world and the imaginative realm represented by the films.

Blu-ray Details

Certificate: 15

Publisher: Artificial Eye

Length: 92 mins

Format: Blu-ray Colour

Region: B

Released: 31st December 2012

Cat No: ART053BD

Blu-ray Extras

  • Audio commentary by director Peter Strickland
  • Interview with Peter Strickland
  • The making of Berberian Sound Studio
  • Deleted scenes with commentary by Peter Strickland
  • Production design gallery
  • 'Box Hill' extended documentary
  • 'Berberian Sound Studio' original short film
  • Theatrical trailer

Film Stills

Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio Berberian Sound Studio

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