Joshua Feibus | Gainesville, FL USA | 11/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was lucky to be able to attend a showing of Alan Berliner's new 'The Sweetest Sound' last night for free with a following Q&A by the director.The Sweetest Sound is about the director's obsession with his own name, and his selfishness of wanting to be the only one to have that name. He goes through a process of interviewing friends, studying old footage, and eventually having a dinner party with the 12 other Alan Berliners of the world (which he obsessively tracks down). A very fun experience, well written by Berliner.The only gripe is that it dragged in parts as the subject matter never veers.The director's father is the greatest interviewee, and it's sad to hear that he passed away a month and a half ago. There is however a movie that Berliner completed on his father a few years back which is even better entitled Nobody's Business.Berliner has been touring the country showing this fine piece of work off, and all his movies can also be seen on PBS. He was very genial, and even stopped in the middle of answering questions to say 'Bless You' to those who sneezed or 'Thanks for coming' to people who left.The one thing that didn't ring true with me however was Berliner's claims to not be a documentarian, as this clearly fits in with such other notables in insight as Ross McElwee and Errol Morris. I guess he's not willing to succumb to genres, but this movie is very reminscent in style of a light-hearted Thin Blue Line. It still comes highly recommended.And in case you're wondering, this movie floors all of Alain Berliner's combined."
Ana Diaz Gonzalez | Santiago, Chile | 01/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best documentary makers surprised me once more with "The Sweetest Sound". It's fast, it's entertaining, it's just Alain Berliner himself. Do not forget to check previous documentaries of this screen magician."
A Search for Identity
Leslie Halpern | Central Florida, USA | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although on the surface, Alan Berliner's documentary "The Sweetest Sound" appears to be an hour-long exploration of his own name, the film actually addresses the universal relationship between a person's name and his or her identity.
Berliner takes an amusing look at how Jims in the Jim Smith Society, Lindas at the National Linda Convention, random people on the street, and 12 other Alan Berliners associate themselves and others with particular names. Programmed as a documentary at film festivals and on PBS, the film is really more of a personal essay in which the filmmaker examines one of his pet peeves (i.e., sharing his name), and views the subject from every angle.
While "The Sweetest Sound" answers many questions for the filmmaker, it opens a series of questions for the viewer that may amuse or provoke. The film contains humor, clever editing, and sparkling sound effects, but it also has a serious side in which names are presented as posthumous elements of memory as he visits tombstones in the graveyard or rattles off lists of long-forgotten people.
"The Sweetest Sound" is a unique examination of identity that is thought-provoking and highly entertaining.
Leslie Halpern, author of Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science and Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies.