Inherent Noise – Karol Jurga – 2014


Karol Jurga’s Inherent Noise is nothing less than a sonic assault. This amazing Polish film has some of the most masterful sound I have ever heard and the experience is mesmerizing. This is not to in any way downplay the beautiful photography or the tight little plot, but the sound design is so remarkable the viewer is left not only feeling like a kind of weightless voyeur, but one with a sense of super-hearing!

Normally the device might come across as trite, however, for the first half of the film the only character we see is an old man, a musician, sound designer, recordist…He has tons of recording equipment, and though he seems reclusive and retired. I’m not sure what he did or does, but obviously it involves making recordings. So for the viewer to experience the sound as isolated and specific is exactly how and exacting and perfectionist sound artist hears the world. You hear the world around you as though you are wearing a high dollar pair of headphones.

We hear every detail in this world, including but not limited to wind in the leaves, the creaking of the house, and the constant chirping of birds. This man records the world. He is alone. He is wheelchair bound and dependent on others to bring him food.

He is not a bad proxy for artists as a whole. His trade is to record life and share and preserve his recordings. He is dependent of his audience for his food. And this man, this artist has more or less been left behind. When he calls his caretaker to tell her he is out of food he says she hasn’t been to see him in two weeks.

Abandoned, the old man listens to the unfamiliar rustle of beads in the door way. He is alone isn’t he? The digital recorder in his hand records all that follows including a distinct whistle, ala twisted nerve or a Leone film of your choice.

The film switches gears in its’ second act. We follow a beautiful young girl who receives the old man’s plea for food. She is at a house party, and has drinks with a scary character with dreadlocks before she leaves. This is a strange setting to meet a woman who is supposedly responsible for another person’s welfare. She doesn’t look like she’s taking care of herself, so she looks like the last person I’d expect to care for another. Perhaps its court ordered community service, or maybe the old man is an uncle or relative.

She calls for a ride and explains she hasn’t been to see the guy for weeks. Here again is a strange clue to her independence or lack thereof. How can she be the caretaker for some gentleman who lives out of town when she doesn’t even have a car?

Once dropped off, (at a distance?) the girl approaches the house and inspects it and finds not her friend but signs of a struggle, and more, the digital recorder.

From here to discuss much more would be to let all of the cats out the bag, suffice it to say that the film ends with a tightrope dance worthy of Blow Out or Blow Up. The ending had me scratching my head and thinking hard about the beginning until I pieced it together. The pieces of the story that exist by inference are incredible, and so much is suggested, I got the feeling of a much larger world while I was watching this film.

I sincerely hope there is a plan to expand on this story of an abandoned artist left to the mercy of others. We have only the recordings we make to leave behind. Sometimes they reflect our hopes and fears and dreams, but sometimes they capture those precious moments at the beginning or the end of life. As recording devices become more and more prevalent tales like Inherent Noise become quite realistic.

Karol Jorga has a lot on his mind and this film is heavy gauntlet thrown down daring for a budget. In the next year or so I’m sure we’ll see something incredible from this gentleman.


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