Sound of My Voice

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“Taut, compelling… An object lesson in how much can be achieved on modest means with a smart combo of craft and story.” — Justin Chang, Variety

Director: Zal Batmanglij
Year: 2011
Country: USA
Running time: 84 mins
Censor Rating: M - offensive language, sexual references

Producers: Hans Ritter, Brit Marling, Shelley Surpin
Screenplay: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
Photography: Rachel Morrison
Editor: Tamara Meem
Production designer: Scott Enge
Costume designer: Sarah de Sa Rego
Music: Rostam Batmanglij
35mm

With: Christopher Denham (Peter Aitken), Nicole Vicius (Lorna Michaelson), Brit Marling (Maggie), Davenia McFadden (Carol Briggs), Kandice Stroh (Joanne), Richard Wharton (Klaus), Christy Meyers (Mel), Alvin Lam (Lam), Constance Wu (Christine), Matthew Carey (Lyle)

Festivals: Sundance, SXSW 2011

Brit Marling, who also starred in and co-wrote last year’s Another Earth, proves again that lo-fi metaphysical sci-fi is her medium. In this creepily ambiguous twilight-zone tale a young, hardcore rationalist couple infiltrate a suburban LA cult with the intention of creating a documentary exposé. Their target is Maggie (Marling), a charismatic young woman on life support whose blissed-out disciples believe that she is a refugee from the year 2054 come to prepare the world’s most illusion-fixated city for the apocalypse she escaped. The processes of religious indoctrination are laid out with wicked precision. But the psychosexual power play Maggie lays on her would-be unmaskers goes way deeper than the brainwash they came armed for. Marling’s cool luminosity on screen, the script’s narrative ingenuity and the pared-down direction of first-time director Zal Batmanglij combine to jangle audience insecurities well beyond the final frame.

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Rebecca McMillan

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