Florian Zeller is not the only one to grow a “Kokoriko” at this year’s Oscars. Another Frenchman won a gold statue, this time for best sound: Nicola Becker, the sound supervisor of the American film “Sound of Metal” in theaters this Wednesday. When we look at the picture, it is amazing and we understand very well why.
It follows the path of Ruben (Rhys Ahmed, the mighty in character), the hard rock drummer who is gradually deaf. He agrees to stay in a community that cares for the deaf, and when he leaves, he chooses to have implants placed, which will significantly change the way he perceives the sounds, voices and music around him. Presented at the festival in Dau in September, the film was marked by its stage, moving story, quality of its interpretation and… its incredible sound environment.
Because the director has chosen to make us realize what Ruben is listening to, or at least he hears less and less first, and then distorted sounds by his implants. For that, he needed a sound magician, and he immediately thought of Nicola Becker. If his name is not known to the public, it is not the same for the filmmakers who have called him for years. His business card is interesting: he worked for Roman Polanski, especially during “Pianist”, “Gravity”, Alfonso Crone or Denise Villeneuve for “Premier Communication”. Also, British director Andrea Arnold, especially “American Honey”, is a particularly fond note in many of the films at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.
He started as a sound producer in “The Young and the Restless”
Only images that are important to the sound. At the age of 50, Nicola Baker is immersed in projects and measures the distance she has traveled since she started as a noise producer on “The Young and the Restless”. But for him, all the way was fine: “I saw a noise maker working at the age of 15, and then I wanted to do it,” he recalls, defining himself as a “sound supervisor.” The Anglo-Saxon name corresponds to “sound designer”.
A shadow artisan interested in permanently searching for sounds, he wants to work before filming (Editor’s note: One year before “Sound of Metal”), To make the sound of a film work openly with the director and sound crews, but also screenwriters, decorators, costume designers… ”
An “experimental basis” approach
His work ethic is so sharp that he is mainly interested in “sound and dedication and budget” with Hollywood directors or independent filmmakers, such as “Sound of Metal” like Darius Mortar. This film summarizes the way sound is considered for a film: an “experimental basis” approach.
For example, he researched the feelings of the deaf using earplugs, submerged the head underwater, or “holds the implant only on one side and the neck can understand the difference.” Before recreating this feeling of “passing through the body” through recordings made by special microphones.
In the set, he “sent” sounds, even those who were taken live on the pole during the concert scenes, through earrings to Reese Ahmed, could play better on stage. The final stages of his work, not least, take place during sound editing and mixing.
To the audience, the look was unique, surprisingly rendering, so he won an Oscar. “Psychologically, it’s beneficial,” Nicola Becker agrees. This is a relief after being very experimental, sometimes forced in this conservative context, especially in France. “This award supports his reputation, and the reputation of the sound researcher is not obvious,” he smiles. I like it very much and I am interested in it ”.
Author Rating: 4/5
Sound of metal Written by Darius Mortar, Rhys Ahmed, Olivia Cook, Matthew Amalrick… 2 hrs.