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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Sweetest Sound
The Sweetest Sound
Docurama // Unrated // October 30, 2001
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted November 20, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Some people say that the sweetest sound to them is their own name and that must be true for documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner. He has searched the world and found 12 other people that share the same name as him and invited them all to dinner.

This simple premise is the setup for an interesting documentary that examines how people feel about their names, the origins of names and the tradition of naming children. Berliner shamelessly reveals his insecurities about sharing a name with 12 other people and questions his mother and father endlessly as to why they chose his name. Neither has an answer that satisfies him and he continues on his quest of deconstructing his name.

In the process of examining his own name he explores how the world looks at you based on your name. Certain names evoke certain feelings, emotions and ideas. It's a visually interesting documentary, as well. Every aspect is integrated into old home movies or stock footage. As he names off conventional names and the ideals associated with them old black-and-white footage of school children visually identifies what he is talking about. It's a great way to keep the film from being more than a series of talking heads.

When the dinner finally arrives the 13 men share stories and feelings with each other and to the camera on how they feel now that they know they are not unique in the world. Each is different, but there are amazing similarities that crop up over the evening. It's a fascinating look at how a name can often define who you are.

The DVD:

The Video and Audio: Being a documentary, don't expect much in the way of visual and audible explosions. They are not there and they are not needed, of course. The video is of varying quality, since some is new footage and some is stock footage. Likewise the audio is Dolby Digital Stereo mix that cleanly presents the voices and not much else.

Extras: There is a short write-up detailing Beliner's career as a documentary filmmaker that reveals some of his past accolades. There are trailers and pictures for the other titles in Docurama's catalog and that is about it. Not much is included, but how interesting would a documentary about a documentary be.

Overall: This is a great documentary. If interesting and quirky education interests you, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.
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