2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: MOONLIGHT SONATA: DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Irene Taylor Brodsky

MOONLIGHT SONATA: DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS
Irene Taylor Brodsky presents a personal meditation on deafness through the experiences of her son, her parents, and Beethoven.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Irene Taylor Brodsky builds on her powerful first feature, HEAR AND NOW (Audience Award winner at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), by delving into an intergenerational exploration of living with deafness. Brodsky’s son Jonas began losing his hearing as a baby and underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler. Now 11 years old, Jonas has adjusted to a world with sound and is learning to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Brodsky’s parents also have cochlear implants, but unlike Jonas, the majority of their lives were shaped by silence. While Jonas explores what silence means to him, his grandfather grapples with a new transition of his own.

Buoyed by a perceptive soundscape and luminous animation, Brodsky astutely captures the complexity of silence and hearing. Rich archival footage portrays Brodsky’s parents’ reflections on the evolution of deafness while intimate home videos reveal Jonas’s hearing transformation. In this deeply personal and moving film, Brodsky explores the meaning of deafness, loss, and the power of silence as her son discovers his unique voice and her parents confront a new chapter of their lives.

Some Background:
Director/Producer/Editor:

  • Irene Taylor Brodsky
    Past Sundance docs:

    HEAR AND NOW (2007)

    This is Brodsky’s fourth documentary feature, produced under her Vermilion Pictures banner. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her short doc, THE FINAL INCH, received Emmy Awards for her short docs ONE LAST HUG: THREE DAYS AT GRIEF CAMP and SAVING PELICAN 895, and won a Peabody Award for HEAR AND NOW.

Producer:

  • Tahria Sheather

    This is Sheather’s first Sundance project. She has produced several nonfiction projects with Brodsky, including the New York Times Op-Docs short BETWEEN SOUND AND SILENCE and the Tribeca special mention award-winning short HOMELESS: THE SOUNDTRACK.

Executive Producers:

Editor:

Why You Should Watch:
Though detailing the specific experiences of her family with deafness, Brodsky nevertheless crafts a film that is universally accessible and relatable, regardless of the viewer’s familiarity with the world of the deaf and hard of hearing. Adding to the project’s insightfulness and charm is its welcome intergenerational focus.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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