Patrick Shen (director)
30 September 2017 (released)
29 September 2017
Elegantly presented and beautifully edited, In Pursuit of Silence is a timely reminder of the finer things in life and the importance of downing out the unwanted and unnecessary sound. Patrick Shen’s feature documentary is a thought-provoking and poignant commentary of how the human race is submerging itself into noise pollution and slowly but surely heading towards a disaster.
While on the surface, In Pursuit of Silence is a simple but powerful documentary about silence and its spiritual and aesthetic importance, once one peels the initial layer off, it becomes a social commentary and educates the audience. Replete with wonderful scenes from nature, the documentary contrasts them with human-made noise to have a very poignant effect. The chirping of the birds, the quiet sound of the waves and the rustle of the leaves all are in sharp contrast to the noise in a subway station, aeroplanes flying over people’s houses and the cacophony in a packed restaurant.
While the documentary underlines the importance of quietness, it is realistic in its message and expectations and does not force upon the audience to take a vow of silence. Its message is to allow more silence to seep into our lives, not to drown ourselves in it. In Pursuit of Silence does not have a narrator, which adds to the impact that words from academics, audiologists and other experts have on the viewer.
In Pursuit of Silence may not be a revolutionary documentary and may not make one change one’s ways instantly, but it will certainly make one wonder and ruminate about how to incorporate more quietness in our lives.