Hot Docs ’11: A Simple Rhythm

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Film Reviews, Hot Docs
Tags: , , , , ,

A scene from A Simple RhythmA Simple Rhythm is a feast for the senses. It’s aesthetically magnificent and the sound is captivating. Moreover, the narrative is a fascinating balance of informative and hypnotizing.

The documentary explores life’s natural rhythms from a variety of perspectives, including science, medicine and music. However, we are not subjected to an endless stream of talking heads as the experts contribute to the discussion; instead, audiences are treated to an array of parallel images that correspond to what is being said even if it doesn’t exactly match. The visuals range from lights to electrical wires to falling rain.

One of the featured interviews in the film is Charles Spearin, musician and member of Broken Social Scene. He creates music from people’s conversations by finding music notes that harmonize with the speaker’s words. When he loops the snippet of conversation and the complementary melody, it creates a pretty catchy tune.

Other people explore natural rhythms, such as a heartbeat or movement. One speaker explains that when most people are asked to sing a random note, it tends to mimic the sound of the frequency of the electrical current that constantly hums around them.

Roger D. Nelson is the director of the Global Consciousness Project, which explains humans’ innate and strong tendency to be in sync. This theory is demonstrated with video of people walking on the street and falling into step with somebody next to them, which we do regularly without noticing but still looks very Stepford.

The conclusion brings the film full circle as we discover the significance of the metronomes that appeared at the start. Moreover, if you find the faceless voices discovering, you may find some relief during the credits that provide a visual of the speaker along with their name and specialty.

A Simple Rhythm is playing as a part of Hot Docs on Friday, April 29 at 7 pm at Royal Cinema, Saturday, May 7 at 6:30 pm at Cumberland Theatre and Sunday, May 8 at 3:45 pm at the ROM Theatre.

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