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In Pursuit of Silence

  • Directed by Patrick Shen
  • United States, 2016, 81 mins., English

Few documentaries (or feature narratives, for that matter), are as meditative and deeply engrossing as In Pursuit of Silence, Shen’s ruminative portrait of several silence-seekers throughout a planet increasingly bombarded by all-encompassing noise. The post-modernist composer John Cage, a man who’s taken a vow of silence and is walking across the US, a sound researcher at Denali National Park in Alaska, a tea master and ecological researcher in Japan and others comprise the film’s interviewees, but Shen’s approach also gives us plenty of space to cultivate silence both in the moment and well after we leave the movie theater. Through a still, gorgeous visual style and enveloping soundtrack, the film is “as much a visual treat as an aural one, [dividing] its time between using the tools of cinema to isolate and enhance the beauty of sounds and silence and exploring different schools of thought on the subject.”—Scott Tobias, NPR.

Genres: Documentary