Passage of Sound eschews narrative, establishing instead co-ordinates which are principally those of modernist poetic cinema;
long takes sometimes in slowed motion, fixed camera positions with the figure moving through space in ‘real’ time, no sense of
a contextualised narrative, no character motivation, no causality, and no dialogue. The soundtrack establishes an evocative
register that connects the Irish viewer with the saliences of a memorialised past and a memorialised landscape.
The opening image is of a dense wall of wind-undulated trees, dreamlike, intense, a partial view of a monolithic wood observed
from without. The film progresses to an interiorised forest space – a clearing with a gap from which a figure emerges.
The figure, is austere, deliberate, a canvas satchel variously slung over a shoulder or carried.
The four elements make their alliances, earth, fire, air and water. He is islanded in a way that dramatizes his exceptional humanity
and emphasises his desire to deliver to the world the decoded essence of the other world in a plaintive air. He is prepared to tolerate
privation in order to receive the discrete music of the world.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the viewer’s received sense of a multi-layered or tangential reality. It feels like a
version of the Proustian definition of what is constant in both the past and the present, worlds which are ‘real without being actual,
ideal without being abstract.’ The realities are contingent on the subject who is both in passage through time and space while sensing
the sublime co-ordinates that interleave the manifest world. The film also seems to reference Deluze and his concept of non-spatio
temporal reality, a virtual construct which is not apparent though real. The figure in the film seems to be in a state of co-temporal
elision, he exists within his own frame of time, a contained minor vibration.
Proust: Le Temps Retrouve : Ch 111
Frank Golden – Writer