The directing team Funk Brothers introduce a world of inescapable noise and chaos in their short film Sala: A Short Odyssey.
In Sala, we follow a teenage immigrant in the United States as he navigates his daily life. The brilliance of this film lies in the sound design, done by Unbridled Sound. Throughout the course of his day, the sounds of every aspect of his life – his dreams, the shutters, water boiling, cars on the street, babies crying – all pile on, one on top of the other. It creates an incredibly claustrophobic feeling, especially if you take the advice of the Funk Brothers and use headphones to watch the film. In this way, it becomes incredibly easy to align yourself with the film’s protagonist as you start to be almost psychologically affected by the abundance of sounds as well. When it all stops – the moment when he is thrust into the game and heading for the end zone – it provides such an intense moment of relief and clarity that everyone who has played a sport can relate to.
There’s no shortage of layers that this use of sound design can be linked to. On their own, being a teenager, an immigrant, or a minority can be a completely overwhelming and frustrating experience, and being all three must be exponentially so. As told by the Funk Brothers, the word “sala” means “prayer” in Swahili. One can extrapolate this to the clarity and freedom our protagonist gets while charging up the field, free from all thoughts.
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